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The real US defense budget is even bigger than you think - here's a dollar-by-dollar tour of the national security state

Business Insider | May 16, 2019, 12.54AM IST

FILE PHOTO - Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan  (L) listens as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a meeting with senior military leaders at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 3, 2019.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Reuters

President Donald Trump with acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan at the White House, April 3, 2019.

  • The Trump administration's most recent budget includes $750 billion for the Pentagon.
  • That near-record sum is only part of the US national-security spending, the total of which is much higher, according to William D. Hartung and Mandy Smithberger.
  • Visit INSIDER's homepage for more stories.

In its latest budget request, the Trump administration is asking for a near-record $750 billion for the Pentagon and related defense activities, an astonishing figure by any measure.

If passed by Congress, it will, in fact, be one of the largest military budgets in American history, topping peak levels reached during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. And keep one thing in mind: that $750 billion represents only part of the actual annual cost of our national security state.

There are at least 10 separate pots of money dedicated to fighting wars, preparing for yet more wars, and dealing with the consequences of wars already fought. So the next time a president, a general, a secretary of defense, or a hawkish member of Congress insists that the US military is woefully underfunded, think twice. A careful look at US defense expenditures offers a healthy corrective to such wildly inaccurate claims.

Now, let's take a brief dollar-by-dollar tour of the US national security state of 2019, tallying the sums up as we go, and see just where we finally land (or perhaps the word should be "soar"), financially speaking.

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