How Big is the Military Industrial Complex? Why does the U.S. spend 50% of all worldwide military expenditures?

Defense analyst kitten says, "More jobs will be created by non-defense spending according to the The Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (PERI) – entitled “The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities".” Photo Credit: Kitten Warabi (looking) by raneko on flick cc

President Dwight Eisenhower cautioned Americans regarding the military industrial complex. In his parting speech to Americans when he left office in January 17, 1961, Eisenhower said:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Eisenhower warns us of the military industrial complex.

U.S. and Worldwide Military Expenditures

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the United States military expenditures are 46.51% of all worldwide military expenditures.

In 2009 the United States spent $712 Billion Dollars. China, which ranks No. 2 in military expenditures in the world, spent $100 billion in 2009 which is only 6.53% of the world’s military expenditures.

U.S. military spending is 7 times more than China and 13 times more than Russia. The U.S. spends more on military expenditures than the following 14 countries combined:

  • China
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • Russia
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • Saudi Arabia
  • India
  • Italy
  • Brazil
  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Spain

Defense analyst kitten says, "It is obscene that the U.S. spends almost 50% of all military expenditures worldwide!" Photo Credit: Kitten Warabi by raneko on flickr cc

US Military Spending vs Rest of World from SIPRI from

War vs Peace Expenditures

In 2009 total military spending topped $1.531 Trillion worldwide.

Pie Chart of Military Expenditures til 2009 SIPRI from

The entire United Nations budget is only 1.8% the amount of worldwide military expenditures. The United Nations annual 2009 budget was approximately $30 billion or $4 for each person in the world.

The BBC’s Jorn Madslien reported in “The Purchasing Power of Peace” on June 3, 2009,

Poverty fuels violence

At a time when a deep economic recession is causing much turbulence in the civilian world – buffeting both airlines and aerospace companies – defence giants such as Boeing and EADS, or Finmeccanica and Northrop Grumman, are enjoying a reliable and growing revenue stream from countries eager to increase their military might.

Do we really need to spend so much money on defense? Why?

What would happen to these companies if we moved towards a Culture of Peace? Could these companies turn their military technology into something else?

How much resources go into the military industrial complex? Could these resources be better used for improving infrastructure–roads, bridges, rail systems, schools?

Spending money on defense creates less jobs than those in other sectors of the economy. Blogger at has an interesting post that confirms that:

a study by one of the leading economic modeling companies shows that military spending increases unemployment and decreases economic growth.

The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities_PERI_Robert Pollin & Heidi Garrett-Peltier_PERI 2009


What about the black budgets. How much money is off the grid?

Here’s a link to a relevant political cartoon about defense spending vs. domestic spending posted on The Portland Observer.

What role does the media play in promoting a culture of violence vs a culture of peace? This report by the Institute for Economics and Peace provides an in-depth report.

Where do we go From Here to Spend more Wisely?

The new Congress will begin on January 4, 2011. Many claim they want to rein in spending. It seems like a good place to begin is with the Defense Budget. As Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier explain in their PERI report of 2009, more jobs are created per dollar for non-defense related spending than for defense-related spending.

What does it mean to truly be “fiscally responsible?” Could we say it is obscene that the U.S. spends approximately 50% of all military expenditures in the world?

Where do we begin and how to reduce military expenditures in the U.S.? What are your ideas and thoughts on the topic?

Please share relevant information for the discussion.

Happy New Year Folks!

This entry was posted in disarmament, Economy, Foreign Affairs, human security, national security, News, science & technology, Senate and Congress, Space and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How Big is the Military Industrial Complex? Why does the U.S. spend 50% of all worldwide military expenditures?

  1. I wish people would stop genuflecting Ike. His farewell speech was dishonest, disingenuous and cowardly. As President he presided over the Cold War complex. As President he and the nefarious Dulles brothers via the CIA orchestrated covert coups d’etat against democratically elected leaders for the benefit of US multinational corporations (.e.g., United Fruit Co.).

    Kitty, please read my website; Then tell me to put your blogsite on the bloggers list of the US Democracy Corps Page.


  2. Reblogged this on thebigpicturereport ™ and commented:
    This well-researched posting is almost two years old, but nothing much has changed…

  3. Pingback: Down the Rabbit Hole. Does the Dept. of Defense Know Where their Money Goes? | Kitty Reporter's Blog: Hot Cat's Meaow Topics

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