America's National Security Budget Nearing $1.2 Trillion

Total National Security Spending FY 2019

(All Figures are $ billions; then-Year $)
(Sources: Table 26-1 from Analytical Perspectives, Table 27-1 Federal Budget by Agency in 2019 OMB Budget, and Addendum to the President’s FY19 Budget to Account for the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018)

Note: Due to the ongoing budget process reliable information about FY 2018 expenditures was not available.

National Security ProgramFY 2019 as RequestedComments
DoD Base Budget (Discretionary) 617.1 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. Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist said budget materials were published before the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, and that base spending would be $20 billion higher. See below.
DoD Base Budget (Mandatory) 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) 626.1  
Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) 69 While budget materials initially proposed $89 billion for OCO this number was revised to $69 billion to reflect the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.
DoD Subtotal 695.1  
DOE/Nuclear 23.1 For nuclear weapons activities
"Defense-Related Activities" 8.9  
National Defense Total 726.8 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 5.5 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 -6.1 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) 193.2  
International Affairs (Total) 41.8  
Homeland Security (Total) 51  
Shares of Interest on the Debt 123.5 Total On-Budget Federal Authorities is $4.6 trillion in fiscal year 2019. Total gross interest paid (outlays) on Treasury debt is $559 billion in fiscal year 2019. The calculable shares of defense-related spending relative to the federal totals is 22.1 percent.
National Defense (Total) 1,135.7 billion  

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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.