1. $574.5 billion base budget for the Department of Defense.
2. $64.6 billion Overseas Contingency Operations for DoD to fight the Islamic State group
3. $78.9 billion Department of Veterans Affairs
4. $44.1 billion Homeland Security
5. $27.1 billion State Department
6. $9.5 billion FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice
7. $13.9 billion National Nuclear Security Administration in the Department of Energy
8. $12 billion in OCO funds for the State Department and Homeland Security to fight ISIS.
The DOD now spends one third of its budget on personnel and maintenance. Retirements and medical costs will rise to 100 percent by 2024 unless there are massive cutbacks in the civilian military and closing of bases.
Buying the wars on a credit card
As of 2017, the US has paid $534 billion in interest. Assuming the US debt is not cleared then the additional $1.5 trillion of direct military spending from 2001-2013, adding more than $7.9 trillion to the national debt.
The Cost of War estimate does not include state and local government costs not subsidized by the federal government. It does not include the costs for caring for Veterans beyond the VA.
Annual interest, VA, retirement and costs in the 2020s
The US will have extra interest, VA and retirement costs of about $300 billion per year in the 2020s and 2030s.
US Real percent of GDP spent on military is about 5-6% of GDP
Russia and the USA are spending 5-6% of GDP on military.
China has not been in any foreign wars since a brief border war with Vietnam back in the 1980s.
4% of GDP that China has saved with less spent on military means $400 billion per year that China can spend on other things like Belt and Road projects to build trade and soft power influence.
By the mid-2020s China will have about $700 billion per year it can spend on other projects.
US could trim $100-200 billion per year from military waste
1. Drop the F35 and other wasteful unneeded military procurement. The US is not threatened by Russia now. Russia’s economy is ten times smaller than the USA and can barely maintain its post-soviet military. China is rising but is decades away from matching the US military. Military gear that the US gets now will need to be updated in the future if there was a need to match China’s military. A stronger US economy would be more helpful.
2. Cut the 100,000 civilian workforce of the DOD added in the last decade.
3. Cut the pentagon identified 21 percent excess capacity in all its facilities and military bases.
4. Find more efficient options for dealing with the goals in Afghanistan and the middle east.
Use antivegetation spraying to take out the poppy fields that are funding the enemy in Afghanistan.
US could shift to other options for dealing with the middle east that rely less on deployed military personnel.
The US has to deal with its debt and deficits.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
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