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16 Military Spending Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

16 Military Spending Facts That Will Blow Your Mind about the world’s most powerful country. The U.S is the strongest military power on the planet, with the best funded and most sophisticated defense forces. It is also the biggest spender on defense, with $596 billion allocated towards the military in 2015, dwarfing the second-biggest spender, China. The U.S military budget spends money on the four branches of the country’s defense forces – the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force. Some of the most noteworthy companies to benefit from this spending are Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN), Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT), General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD), Boeing Co (NYSE:BA), and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC)
Despite the large expenditure on defense, the percentage spend of U.S GDP on the military remains well below what it was during times of war. In 2015, the U.S spent approximately 3.3% of its GDP on the military, which accounted for about 54% of the U.S’ fiscal year 2015 discretionary budget. The huge size of the U.S economy allows it to be the biggest spender on arms and defense equipment without overly straining taxpayers.
The defense budget has nearly doubled since 2000, when it was around $330 billion. U.S defense forces have potent capabilities in both defense and power, with more than 737 military bases spread all over the globe. Though the U.S does not have compulsory military service for its citizens, there are many countries that do. If you’re interested in finding out which ones they are, check out the 10 strongest countries with compulsory military service, which includes nations such as Iran and Taiwan.
Besides spending on defense, the U.S spends another ~$20 billion a year on the upkeep of its nuclear arsenal. Expenses from the country’s wars with Afghanistan and Iraq are also not accounted for in the general defense budget, being funded through separate spending bills. A number of other programs, such as pensions for military veterans, intelligence activities, homeland security, and counter terrorism activities are also not included in the military budget ($218 billion to $262 billion annual spend). If these expenses were combined with the normal military budget, then total U.S defense spending would be much higher.
As per a Department of Defense budget proposal for fiscal year 2017, $147 billion was allocated for the Army, $169 billion for the Navy and Marine Corps, $162 billion for the Air Force, and $103 billion for defense-wide spending. By function, $138.6 billion was requested for personnel, $244.4 billion for operations and maintenance, $118.9 billion for procurement, $69 billion for research and development, $1.3 billion for revolving and management funds, $6.9 billion for military construction, and $1.3 billion for family housing. This budget is slated to fund an Army of 460,000 soldiers in the active Army, 335,000 soldiers in the Army National Guard, and 195,000 soldiers in the Army Reserve in FY 2017. It will also fund a Marine Corps of 182,000 active-duty Marines and 38,500 Marine reservists. The budget also supports an Air Force of 491,700 active-duty, Reserve and National Guard Airmen, and includes 55 tactical fighter squadrons. Total U.S defense personnel, including those in reserves, is almost 2.5 million, which makes it one of the world’s largest armies in terms of absolute numbers.
Military spending accounts for a lion’s share of the U.S’ discretionary spending, at 54%. In comparison, education and healthcare only get a 6% allocation each, while energy and science spending get only a 3% allocation. Veteran’s benefits, which should ideally be included in the military budget, gets a whopping $65 billion allocation, making it 4th-largest spending item.
Besides being the world’s biggest spender on military equipment, the U.S is also the biggest exporter of arms and ammunition to the rest of the world. Its huge domestic expenditure on its military has spawned a large number of giant defense companies which manufacture some of the best weapon systems in the world. The F-16 fighter aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT)
is one of world’s most popular fighters and used by the air forces of a number of countries in the world today. Large U.S defense manufacturers produce a wide variety of tanks, missiles, assault rifles, bombers, surveillance aircraft and electronic systems, which are exported to U.S allies around the world.
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In this article, we present 16 military spending facts that will blow your mind. It’s beginning on the next page.

1) In 2015, U.S defense spending was higher than the combined military budgets of the next seven largest military budgets, which were those of India, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China. The U.S military budget accounts for 40% of total global military spending.

16 Military Spending Facts That Will Blow Your Mind


2) The U.S spends 3.3% of its GDP on defense, while other large countries like China, the U.K, India, and France spend around 2%-2.5% on defense. Only Saudi Arabia and Russia are amongst the top 10 military powers that spend a higher amount of their GDP on defense than the U.S (however, they have much smaller economies).

16 Military Spending Facts That Will Blow Your Mind


3) The U.S’ expenditure as a percentage of global expenditure on defense has fallen in the last 5 years, with reduced spending on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. In the post “Cold War” period, U.S defense spending has fallen into a narrow band as a percentage of GDP.


4) Next in line of military spending facts that will blow your mind is this one – Four of the five largest defense companies in the world originated in the U.S. Lockheed Martin is the world’s biggest defense company, following by aviation giant Boeing Co (NYSE:BA). Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN) is the world’s fourth-largest defense manufacturer and the third-largest in the U.S.

16 Military Spending Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

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5) The Department of Defense is the second-biggest employer in the U.S and has more employees on its payroll than other large private companies such as General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is the only company which has more employees on its payroll.

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6) The U.S is the largest contributor of military aid to foreign countries in the world, providing some form of assistance to over 150 countries each year. Some government officials want to cut defense spending by lowering the amount of aid given to foreign militaries.

7)  We’re halfway through our list of military spending facts that will blow your mind. So, did you know that 30 presidents have served in the U.S. Army, 24 during times of war? Of the 30 presidents, two were 5-star generals – George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower.

8) The U.S military is one of the largest owners of land, not only in the U.S, but globally, with control over more than 15,000 square miles of land, which is a land mass greater than the state of New Jersey. These 8 spending items brings us to the halfway point of our list of 16 min blowing military spending facts. Keep reading for the rest.

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9) Did you know that U.S has by far the largest number of aircraft carrier groups in the world, which projects U.S power across the oceans of the world and allows it to rapidly deploy firepower to various regions of the globe quickly and forcefully? This definitely deserves to be on our list of military spending facts that will blow your mind. The U.S has 10 aircraft carries in service today, which are used both for power projection as well as defense.

16 Military Spending Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

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10) The U.S was the first country to build a nuclear submarine, being followed by Russia. Currently, the U.S is one of 6 countries that have nuclear submarines in their navy, with the others being Russia, France, the U.K, China, and India.

11) The U.S is the only country to have used stealth aircraft in combat. The country used the F-117 Stealth aircraft to drop bombs during the invasion of Panama. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) is the developer of the famous B-2 stealth bomber that was deployed during the second Gulf war in 2003.

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12) The U.S is one of five nuclear states recognized under the treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The country also has the second-largest nuclear warhead arsenal after Russia, with 6,950 nuclear warheads. Speaking of military spending facts that will blow your mind, right?

13) The U.S was the first country to develop a nuclear triad of forces, as far back as 1945. The nuclear triad refers to the ability of a country to deliver a nuclear attack through three means, namely land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), strategic bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Other powers with this capability are Russia and China.

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14) The U.S has the strongest force of tanks in the world, with an estimated 8,000 tanks. Russia has a larger number of tanks, but most of these are old T-72 tanks and do not have the firepower and sophistication of the M1 Abrams tanks used by the U.S military.

16 Military Spending Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

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15) The U.S has the most powerful air force in the world, with more than 3,500 military aircraft and over 1,800 attack helicopters. Use of smart bombs and precision-guided munitions has made the U.S air force the most feared military force in the world, allowing the U.S government to conduct operations around the world without fear.

16 Military Spending Facts That Will Blow Your Mind


16) Lastly, the U.S has the largest number of military satellites in the world, numbering more than 120 satellites, which are used to survey its enemies around the globe. Its satellites are also highly sophisticated, allowing extremely high resolution images to be taken and proving a powerful boost to its intelligence gathering services.

These military spending facts that will blow your mind should have at least amazed you, but there are many more shocking facts which you can dig out from the Defense budget.

Which figure is the most shocking? Or did we miss one that you think is even more shocking? Let us know in the comments.

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