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300 250 Percentage 200 150 100 50 0 US
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se eing the e le phant
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GDP growth Military expenditure growth
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Increase in Military Spending and Increase in GDP, 1996 2007
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Source: SIPRI 2008 Factbook, CIA World Factbook 1997, 2008
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Latin America $39 3%
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Central/ South Asia $30 2% Sub-Saharan Africa $10 1%
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United States $711 48%
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Figure 46 2008 US Military Spending vs the World (in Billions US$ and Percent of World Total) $1473 Trillion
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Source: Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
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Defense and Security
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defense budget shows an average growth of 118 percent,47 and more than 15 percent in the last ve years48 India provides a similar picture With more than 13 million active personnel, it has the world s third largest military Its annual defense budget grew by 40 percent to $24 billion from 2002 to 200649 Russia, too, is repositioning itself more and more again as a big military power with expenditures quadrupling in only six years to some $31 billion in 2007 Analysts estimate that this could easily increase by an additional 30 percent in coming years, particularly if the country involves itself in more skirmishes such as its 2008 intrusion into Georgia In addition, Russia has focused on investing in new technologies rather than the maintenance of its old equipment In 2007, the Russian government approved a $240 billion rearmament program through the year 2015 Indeed, this the growing global militarization feels eerily like the arms race of Angell s time In 2009, the aggregate US military budget stands at more than $700 billion more than the GDPs of 100 countries And this number does not even include military-related items that are outside the Defense Department budget such as nuclear weapons research, maintenance and production (approximately $93 billion included in the Department of Energy budget), and Veterans Affairs (approximately $332 billion)50 Adjusting the budget for nuclear requirements and in ation, recent budgets have exceeded the average amount spent by the Pentagon during the Cold War And today s military troops are onethird smaller than they were just over a decade ago!51 Today, the global US defense complex is one of the world s largest global operators According to the Pentagon, the US military had 1,840,062 personnel in 2005 The military was supported by an additional 473,306 Defense Department civil service employees and 203,328 local hires In total, that makes 255,065 US military personnel deployed worldwide Furthermore, the US military owns 737 bases in 63 foreign nations (including seven new countries after 9/11) The complex owns 845,441 different buildings and installations, 32,327 barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, in addition to leasing another 16,527 The size of these holdings was recorded in the inventory as covering 687, 347 acres overseas and 29,819,492 acres worldwide, easily making the Pentagon one of the world s largest landlords52
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1,200 1,000 Billions of Dollars 800 600
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1,014
se eing the e le phant
National defense budget Iraq/Afghanistan war budget Base budget
545 550 522
200 0
WWII (1945) Korea (1953) Vietnam 1980s Buildup (1968) (1989)
2008 Request
2009 Estimate
US Defense Spending Historically (in Constant 2008 Dollars)
Source: Of ce of Management and Budget Note: National Defense (function 050) historical outlays are from OMB FY2009 Historical Tables Tables 32, adjusted for in ation using OMB GDB de ator Table 101 Base budget gures are for National De ne (function 050) and include Department of Enegry nuclear weapon activies and DOD-related spending by other agencies Iraq/Afhanisum war budget gures are from CBO, Analysis of the Gowth in Funding for Operation in Iraq and Afghanism, February 11, 2008
These huge military outlays and their long-term impacts on the US economy are only beginning to be understood by the American public The Afghan and Iraqi invasions have become some of the most mind-boggling nancial engagements undertaken by the US government, military or otherwise In order to conceal the real costs of these con icts, much of the related expenditures are categorized as supplementary spending, which falls outside the federal budget (See Figure 47) According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the cost of the Iraq war (including past expenditures and estimated future outlays until 2016) to the United States will surpass $23 trillion53 Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz describes Iraq as the three trillion dollar war The New Cost of War: Iraq and the $3+ Trillion Mistake Five years after the United States invaded Iraq, Nobel Laureate and former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz co-authored The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the