America’s $1.1 Trillion National Security Budget

Total US National Security Spending, 2017-2018

(All figures are $ billions; then-Year $)
(Sources: Table 25-1 from Analytical Perspectives and Table 26-1 Budget by Agency and Account in 2018 OMB Budget)

National Security Program2017 as Enacted2018 as RequestedComments
DoD Base Budget (Discretionary)523574.5The “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. See below.
DoD Base Budget (Mandatory)7.57.8DOD 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)530.5582.3“Total” spending is discretionary and mandatory combined.
Overseas Contingency Operations82.464.6The Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account operates as a slush fund for various pet projects for Congress and the Pentagon.
DoD Subtotal (Total)612.9646.9 
DOE/Nuclear (Total)20.121.8For nuclear weapons activities.
“Defense-Related Activities” (Total)8.88.4This spending is usually just for international FBI activities, Selective Service, the National Defense Stockpile and other miscellaneous defense-related activities.
National Defense (Total)655.1*677.1This is the OMB budget function “National Defense” (also known as “050”) which is sometimes confused as Pentagon-only spending. *Available information did not include all FY17 enacted.
Military Retirement Costs Not Scored to DOD711.5This 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-7.7-6.7These 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)177.1183.5 
International Affairs (Total)54.841.5 
Homeland Security (Total)5149.4 
Shares of Interest on the Debt108.2112.7Total On‐Budget Federal Authorities are $4.1 trillion in 2017 and $4.3 trillion in 2018. Total gross interest paid (outlays) on Treasury debt is $474.5 billion in 2017 and 505.6 billion in 2018. The calculable shares of defense-related spending relative to the federal totals at 22.8% in 2017 and 22.3% in 2018.
National Defense (Total)1,045.5 billion
1069 billion
 
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.

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