Monday, October 1, 2007

Annual U.S. Security Spending: $1 Trillion???

Today marks the beginning of the new fiscal year, and “closes the books” on fiscal year 2007 – a year when the United States spent nearly $1 trillion on security-related matters.

Back in February, 2006, the Bush administration requested, and Congress later approved, roughly $463 billion for the military. But this figure didn’t include almost $175 billion appropriated for the Pentagon in FY 2007 to cover the costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to the almost $650 billion spent by the military on U.S. security, a new analysis I've done for the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation details over $350 billion in other federal security spending.

Security spending outside the defense budget ranges from the small -- $421 million for “Non-Proliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Activities” in the Foreign Operations budget – to the very large – nearly $100 billion for interest on the national debt attributable to past Pentagon spending.

It includes some funding that is clearly related to U.S. national security such as veterans’ benefits ($73 billion) and homeland security ($43 billion), and some spending, like retirement benefits for former Pentagon civilian employees ($22.4 billion) that’s less clearly connected. It also includes intelligence funding, foreign military assistance, and the military space program.

And even THIS figure is incomplete. It doesn’t include, for instance, pay and benefits for non-DoD civilian federal employees working on security issues for the Department of Homeland Security, State Department, or Department of Justice or Treasury. Nor does it include the costs of past debt accrued paying veterans’ benefits, retirees’ pensions, etc. It doesn’t include the majority of the State Department’s operating budget, although one must assume that SOME of our government’s diplomatic initiatives are directed at promoting U.S. security.

Former Senator Everett Dirksen is often credited with saying, regarding federal spending, that "a billion here and a billion there, and soon you're talking real money." In a $2.8 trillion annual federal budget, $1 trillion in security spending IS real money.

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