Military spending set to
go through the roof - FY2003

Friends Committee on National Legislation Newsletter, February 2002


President Bush has asked Congress for almost $400 billion in discretionary budget authority for the military in fiscal year 2003 (FY03), an increase of $46 billion over FY02 spending. The FY03 funds would be used to carry out the war on terror and to create a global U.S. military machine that could dominate and prevail in any future contest.

The President's budget request includes

* $378.5 billion for the Pentagon,

* $15.4 billion for nuclear weapons programs,

* $3.8 billion for foreign military assistance, and

* $1.4 billion for military-related activities of other agencies.

The total FY03 budget authority for military programs will exceed $432 billion. This is because the federal government is required to spend nearly $32 billion for military retirement benefits and health care for current employees, in addition to the nearly $400 billion in discretionary spending.

Spending priorities that miss the mark

The President's budget proposal largely ignores the root causes of violence. For example, while Pres. Bush would increase military spending by $46 billion (13%), he would increase funding for international development and humanitarian assistance by only $0.7 billion (10%). The President would spend more on the missile shield ($7.8 billion) and on nuclear weapons ($8.0 billion) than he would on international development and humanitarian assistance ($7.6 billion).

The total proposed military budget is vastly disproportionate to the amount that will be spent by any combination of potential enemies that can be imagined. The proposed level of military spending also exceeds the combined military budgets of the next 25 military powers. According to the Center for Defense Information, the countries with the largest military expenditures, after the U.S., are Russia ($60 billion), China ($42 billion), Japan ($40 billion), United Kingdom ($34 billion), and Saudi Arabia ($27 billion).

The world cannot be freed from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction through unilateral U.S. military action and war. Such a course will only increase and prolong the violence and suffering worldwide. It is all the more dangerous as the capacity to create and use weapons of mass destruction becomes more widespread.


Over 41% of your federal tax dollars paid for past and current military activities in 2001

For fiscal year 2001 (FY01), the federal government spent a total of $557.2 billion dollars to support the military. Of this, $328 billion funded the current military activities, while $229 billion paid costs associated with past military activities. The total was about 41.1% of all federal funds outlays in FY01.

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