There have been a lot of interesting developments from the US military in the last few years. The development cost of the F-35 Lightning II, once dubbed the most expensive fighter plane ever built, has dropped significantly following better economies of scale. Even so, the development program may push its cost beyond the $1 trillion mark due to reliability issues.
Spending $1 trillion over the course of five years to develop a new generation of fighter planes seems outrageous even by the best of standards, which brings us to the next big question: how does US military spending compare to other countries?
A Steady Increase
According to the online master of science in taxation department of Northeastern University, military spending in the United States continues to grow from year to year. It is a large portion of the government budget and the spending for 2017 fiscal year is no different.
The administration allocated a whopping $611 billion for the military in general. This includes a $25 billion increase in funding for the Department of Defense. Keep in mind that the announced budget is still lower than what President Trump asked for in his proposal last month.
Studies by the online MST program also pointed out a break from the practice of balancing changes in defense spending with domestic programs. This means the government can make real efforts in improving the nation’s readiness without having to worry about allocating the same amount of resources for other programs.
There are still debates surrounding this change in approach, but House Speaker Paul Ryan stated that this new approach will allow the government to provide servicemen and women the tools and resources they need to strive.
A Gigantic Budget
If you think the $611 billion budget allocated for military spending is big, wait until you compare the budget with that of other countries. In the same fiscal year, China – noted as our nation’s biggest rival when it comes to investing in the military – allocated $215 billion for defense and military activities. That’s a little over one-third of the US budget.
Our allies in Europe allocate a total of $211 billion between them. France is leading the pack with a budget of $56 billion, followed by the UK ($48B), Germany ($41B), Italy ($21B), Spain ($15B), Poland ($9B), Netherlands ($9B), and Greece ($5B).
Russia’s Miniscule Budget
China is a serious rival to consider, but we also can’t ignore the fact that Russia is actively developing its military prowess (and using it too). The country allocates $69 billion for the 2017 fiscal year, far below what the US is spending. Russia’s primary military focus is no longer developing tools for war, but rather conquering new fronts with modern warfare capabilities.
If the recent test of the new US military systems and the Network Integration Exercise are any indication, the US military is also moving more aggressively towards the digital age. With such a big budget, the development of new tools, systems, and strategies will be even more interesting to follow.