What is the Defense Budget?
The United States defense budget, $690 billion in 2020, can be broken into five main categories: operation and maintenance, military personnel, Procurement, research and development, and military construction and family housing. The categories listed are the most significant percentages of the defense budget.
• Operation and Maintenance:
o In 2020, the DoD spent roughly $283 billion on operation and maintenance.
o Description: Operation and maintenance is the upkeep and deployment of the United States military force and equipment. Maintenance can also include environmental upkeep and restoration conservation, and pollution prevention.
• Military personnel
o In 2020, the DoD spent roughly $159 billion on military personnel
o Military personnel section of the budget pays active-duty soldiers, healthcare plans, pensions, and many other US military benefits that soldiers receive.
o In 2020, the DoD spent roughly $138 billion on Procurement
o Procurement, simply put, the military purchases around $138 billion worth of new equipment.
• Research and Development
o In 2020, the DoD spent roughly $97 billion on Research and Development
o Research and Development costs are spent on researching new technology and weapon systems for the military. Some may think that 97 billion is low compared to the amount of research, but most research and technology breakthroughs happen in the private market and are then procured by the military.
• Military Construction and Family housing
o In 2020, the DoD spent roughly $7 billion on construction
o Construction is simple like Procurement; the US military spends $7 billion on base construction and housing for military personnel’s families.
Understanding the military budget is essential to understanding what the Department of Defense is spending money on. The defense budget is highly politicized most of the time, but the spending makes sense. Factoring in the size and amount of benefits military members receive, the military personnel spending is significant. Also, with the size of the military and the constant need for military readiness, the military must spend large amounts of money on maintenance and training.