Our $1 Trillion National Security Budget

Aerial shot of the Pentagon (Photo: Flickr / Rudiriet)
Aerial shot of the Pentagon (Photo: Flickr / Rudiriet)

Total U.S. National Security Spending, 2015-2016

(All figures are $billions; Then-Year$)

(Sources: Department of Defense Budget Overview, Table 28-1 from Analytical Perspectives
and Homeland Security Appendix in 2016 OMB Budget)

National Security
Program
2015 as Enacted2016 as EnactedComments
DOD Base Budget (Discretionary) 487.3 527.4 The “base” budget purportedly contains all routine, peacetime expenses; however, DOD and Congress have loaded tens of billions of such “base” spending into the Overseas Contingency Operations fund for declared wartime expenses.  See below.
DOD Base Budget (Mandatory) 8.8 7 DOD often does not count this “mandatory” spending in its budget presentations to the public; however, being for military retirement and other DOD-only spending, it is as much a part of the DOD budget as military pay and acquisition.
DOD Base Budget (Total) 496.1 534.4 “Total” spending is discretionary and mandatory combined.
Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) 64.3 50.9 This account is traditionally used as a slush fund to pay for DoD priorities that couldn’t make it into the “base” budget, read here, here, and here.
DOD Subtotal (Total) 560.4 585.3  
DOE/Nuclear (Total) 19.2 20.5 For nuclear weapons activities.
“Defense-related activities” (Total) 8.3 8.1 Includes the FBI, payments to the CIA retirement fund.
National Defense (Total) 596.8 620.9 This is the OMB budget function “National Defense” (also known as “050”) which is sometimes confused as Pentagon-only spending. It also includes approximately $80 billion in intelligence accounts buried in DoD and DOE agency budgets.
Military Retirement Costs Not Scored to DoD 18.2 17.4 This account is traditionally used as a slush fund to pay for DoD priorities that couldn’t make it into the “base” budget, read here, here, and here
Military Retirement Costs Not Scored to DoD 18.2 17.4 This category shows funds paid by the Treasury for military retirement programs, minus interest and contributions from the DOD military personnel budget. The data for the amounts shown here are in functions 600, 900 and 950.  As DOD-unique spending they should be displayed as part of the DOD budget, but they are not by either DOD or OMB.
DOD Retiree Health Care Fund Costs -5.2 -5.3 Shown are nets costs to the Treasury for this DOD health care program. See functions 550 and 950.  As DOD-unique spending, they should be displayed as part of the DOD budget, but they are not by either DOD or OMB.
Veterans Affairs (Total) 160.6 165.8 These costs are projected to increase to $253.9 billion in 2025 as the human costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to grow.
International Affairs (Total) 62.7 46.7  
Homeland Security (Total) 53.2 50.4 Includes Homeland Security spending in DHS for federal agencies not shown on this table (thereby excluding DOD, DOE, State and VA).
Share of Interest on the Debt 103.6 106.8 Total On-Budget Federal Budget Authority is $3.8 trillion in 2015 and $4.1 trillion in 2016. Total gross interest paid on Treasury debt is $431.6 billion in 2015 and $485.7 billion in 2015. The calculable shares of defense-related spending relative to the federal totals are 24% in 2015 and 22% in 2016.

Grand Total

989.7

1002.7

 

Click here to view table as pdf

Photograph of Mandy Smithberger

By: Mandy Smithberger, Director, CDI Straus Military Reform Project

Mandy Smithberger is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight.

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