Investigating US Military Funding

The US military funding is that portion of the Federal discretionary budget allocated for the Defense Department. It is responsible for paying the salaries, training, and healthcare needs of both uniformed and civilian personnel. Likewise, the budget is used for the maintenance of weapons, equipments and infrastructure, and operations as well as the development and purchase of new equipments. It is allocated for the five branches of service.

This year, the base budget of the US Armed Forces increased to $515.4 billion. If emergency discretionary and supplemental expenditures are added, it will increase to $651.2 billion. The figure does not include most military-related tasks not include in the DND budget such as nuclear weapons research, production and maintenance, Veterans Affairs, interests on debt accrued in previous wars. As of this year, the total spending of the government on defense-related purposes is $1 trillion per year.

The US defense funding is the biggest in the world. In 2007, the DOD had a base budget amounting to $431.7 billion. During the War on Terrorism, an extra $169.2 billion was requested for its operations purpose. With the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, Congress authorized the release of $688.6 billion to the national defense funds.

A year later, the requested based budget for the Department of Defense rose by 11.1% to $479.5 billion. With the $189.1 billion supplemental funding for the War on Terrorism, the total budget for national defense was $668.6 billion. In 2009, expenditures for national defense saw a sustained growth. The base budget request went up to $515.4 billion, allocation for the War on Terrorism was at $70 billion and supplemental spending was at $65 billion.

Among the different branches of service, the US Air Force had the biggest allocation at $143.9 billion, followed by the Army at $140.7 billion. The Navy and the Marine Corps had an allocation of $124.4 billion and $24.9 billion, respectively. Defense wide expenditures had a total allocation of $81.6 billion.

Operations and maintenance had the biggest allocation among the various military functions at $179.8 billion. Personnel services received $125.2 billion, procurement got $104.2 billion while research and development efforts received $79.6 billion. Military construction and family housing were allocated $21.9 and $2.9 billion, respectively. A total of $2.7 billion was allocated as revolving funds.

The major defense programs of the US Armed Forces also received a huge chunk of the budget. A total of $4.1 billion was allocated for the F-22 Raptor, a next generation fighter, which is set to release 20 additional planes for 2009. Still in its developmental stages, the F-35 Lightning II received $6.7 billion worth of allocation. The funding will be utilized for the construction of sixteen planes.

Aside from that, the development of the Future Combat System had an allocation of $3.6 billion. The procurement of missile defense systems such as the Patriot CAP, PAC-3, and SBIRS-High, got $12.3 billion. The establishment of a third missile defense facility somewhere in Europe received $720 million worth of allocation.

The continuation of the Aircraft Carrier Replacement Program was funded for $4.2 billion. An additional $389 million for the AFRICOM system was requested the development and maintenance of the said command. As part of its War on Terrorism, the expansion of the Army and Marine Corps as well as the recruitment, training, and maintenance of the National Guards and Reserves, received allocations amounting to $20.5 and $49.1 billion, respectively.

The US military funding is a living testimony on why the United States remains as one of the most formidable military in the world.

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