What do Americans spend money on
This is how the US uses its massive military budget
Donald Trump wants to increase the world's largest defense budget again. But what do Americans spend so much money on anyway?
Tonight, Donald Trump will deliver his first speech to Congress. It is particularly eager to see what details he will present about his defense plans. The new US president wants to «win wars» again and therefore increase the military budget of his country by 54 billion US dollars. Should Congress approve its draft, it should actually be a "historic increase," as Trump said. Because the USA already has by far the largest defense budget in the world.
"We'll have the greatest military we've ever had when I'm done."Donald Trump, US President
In 2015, they spent a good 598 billion US dollars on their military - and were thus responsible for more than a third of global spending. The US Department of Defense alone devoured 496 billion or 83 percent of the total budget. Overseas war and terrorism operations cost 64 billion (11 percent), with the remainder spent on nuclear weapons, international security and other defense.
A report by the US Department of Defense shows how the basic budget was composed: Operation and maintenance of the military cost 195 billion, the payment and maintenance of military personnel 135 billion. After all, 63 billion has been invested in research and development, but also a lot of money in new weapons.
The United States spent more than 93 billion on new weapon systems in 2015. They upgraded their air force the most: with 42 billion, including for 38 new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, 86 Black Hawk helicopters and 9 P-8 Poseidon long-range reconnaissance and submarine fighters.
The USA also invested a lot in the sea fleet. For example, they procured two nuclear-powered Virginia-class attack submarines for 6.2 billion. They also spent 17 billion on new missiles, defense systems and ammunition, a good 7 billion on space systems such as satellites and almost 6 billion on C4I information and surveillance systems.
The new weapons are used, among other things, in military operations overseas, known as the "war on terror". Of the 64 billion that the US spent on this in 2015, a large part went to Afghanistan. After the official withdrawal a good two years ago, only a few American armed forces were actually stationed there. But in view of the resurgent Taliban, additional soldiers had to be sent to the region again.
Operation Inherent Resolve, the US military intervention against the Islamic State terrorist militia in Iraq and Syria, is also costing more and more money. In 2015, the Americans already spent over 5 billion on combating IS.
"We will spend a lot more money on the military, we have no choice."Donald Trump, US President
From Trump's point of view, that's not enough. He calls for the military budget to be increased by $ 54 billion in the coming year. What exactly he wants to spend the money on is still open. It is also unclear how the defense budget surge will be paid for. This is why there is resistance - not just among the Democrats. Also, many Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate have no interest in further increasing government spending and debt.
In addition, experts warn of serious foreign policy consequences. A group of 120 former generals and admirals, including former CIA chief David Petraeus and former NATO commander James Stavridis, issued a letter to Congress urgently warning against funding the military at the expense of diplomacy. America’s security will suffer.
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