America's $1 Trillion National Security Budget

Total US National Security Spending, 2016-2017

(All figures are $ billions; then-Year $)
(Sources: Table 28-1 from Analytical Perspectives and Homeland Security Appendix in 2017 OMB Budget)

National Security Program 2016 as Enacted 2017 as Requested Comments
DoD Base Budget (Discretionary) 521.7 523.9 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) 6.8 7.9 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) 528.5 531.8 “Total” spending is discretionary and mandatory combined.
Overseas Contingency Operations 58.6 58.8
DoD Subtotal (Total) 587.1 590.6
DOE/Nuclear (Total) 20 20.5 For nuclear weapons activities.
"Defense-Related Activities" (Total) 8.3 8.4 This spending is usually just for international FBI activities, Selective Service, the National Defense Stockpile and other miscellaneous defense-related activities.
National Defense (Total) 615.4 619.5 This is the OMB budget function “National Defense” (also known as “050”) which is sometimes confused as Pentagon-only spending.
Military Retirement Costs Not Scored to DOD 12.2 14.5 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 -5.6 -5.9 These are net costs to the Treasury for this DOD health care program. See functions 550 900 and 950. As DOD‐unique spending, they should be displayed as part of the DOD budget, but they are not either by DOD or OMB.
Veterans Affairs (Total) 164.4 179.2
International Affairs (Total) 59.4 58.1
Homeland Security (Total) 51.2 49.7 Includes Homeland Security spending in DHS for federal agencies not shown on this table (thereby excluding DOD, DOE, State and VA)
Shares of Interest on the Debt 100.2 123 Total On‐Budget Federal Outlays are $4 trillion in 2016 and $4.1 trillion in 2017. Total gross interest paid (outlays) on Treasury debt is $447.3 billion in 2016 and $551.7 billion in 2017. The calculable shares of defense-related spending relative to the federal totals at 22.4% in 2016 and 22.3% in 2017.
National Defense (Total) 997.2 1038.1


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.