Last year, the U.S. spent as much money on its military expenses as the rest of the world combined. See the Global Issues’ page titled ‘World Military Spending’ for details. The suggested US defence budget by the current administration, presented by secretary Gates, will increase fixed spending by almost 4% from the previous fiscal year. The request is for US$534 billion, up from US$515 billion under president George W. Bush. These totals do not include appropriation for the Af-Pak and Iraq wars.


I have a hard time understanding why news articles on the latest US defence budget mostly contain the following phrases in their titles: ‘deep cuts’, ‘takes a scalpel to the budget’, ‘costs cut’. The military budget is to be increased. The same articles that claim a budget cut never tell the reader what the previous year’s budget was but they do make select budget item comparisons from 2009 to 2010 showing cuts to specific programs. I had to look at the US military’s own budget reports to get the 2009 number since I couldn’t easily find it in the news.

China’s official military budget for 2007 was US$45 billion, up 17% from the previous year.

(Adapted from  a piece first published at

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Nima Maleki

Nima Maleki is a policy analyst and consultant, currently the Director of Research and Community Engagement for the not-for-profit Maple Key. His writings focus on international relations and the impact...