A recent estimate by the organization GlobalSecurity.org indicates $1,100 billion in worldwide military expenditures for 2004. That same year United States spending was $623 billion. The U.S. spends more than the entire rest of the world combined!
China, the next biggest spender, spent $65 billion or just over 10 percent of the U.S. total; Russia was at $50 billion. At the time they were labeled the axis of evil, combined spending by North Korea, Iran and Iraq was a mere $10.6 billion. And if some purported list of our potential enemies also includes Pakistan, Syria and Cuba they add less than $6 billion.
The U.S. figure was 27 percent of our $2.293 trillion total national budget—$2,127 for every man, woman and child in the country. Japan, with a population that was 127,787,000, spent $41.75 billion or $326 per person for its military, while India with 1,065,000,000 people got by on $19 billion or $18 per person.
On Oct. 31, 2007, there were 1,377,474 United States active duty military personnel. The $110 billion spent on them covered basic pay, allowances and incentives. There were 1,087,477 reserve troops or 44 percent of total manpower. When on active duty reservists are paid through the Defense Department budget. There also were 696,000 civilians employed (2005) in national defense related positions with an annual payroll of $31.7 billion.
Waste, inertia and erroneous military policies, often blatantly imperialistic, have resulted in billions of squandered dollars. When these three are changed the savings will be more than enough to begin the process whereby America leads the world in tackling its real problems. The first is the most obvious contributor to our huge military budget. Waste is caused by criminal activity, incompetence, politically motivated actions, failures in oversight and cronyism. On Sunday, we will take a closer look at waste in military spending—Jim Frost.