The United States of America and the Arms Industry Essay
With the national debt above $14 trillion, how much of that is actually spent on our nation’s defense and war efforts? According to national debt clock the United States is using approximately 699 1/2 billion dollars (United States National Debt Clock) to militarily defend itself. As we take a front row seat in different and sometimes contradictory ways, within the arms industry, both nationally and internationally.
There are many ways our country takes part in the worldwide industry of arms dealing. For the purpose of this paper we will take a look at the more basic and common ways in which this happens.Ever since we declared our independence from the British in 1776 the general concept seems to have been, he who carries the big stick makes the rules, a concept that has been hard to argue with, especially with all the statistical numbers that seem to support this theory. First, let’s take a look at the United States defense budget and how it compares to the rest of the world. How much do we truly set aside for defense? Where do we rank in the world as far as spending? What percentage of the world wide spending pie do we make up? Second, we look at the actual budget to get an idea of where the money is going.How the defense budget is is broken down, who is spending all of that money, and what are they actually paying for or buying with it? Finally, we take a look at the U. S. ’ so called friends, our allies.
How is it we help our friends carry big sticks as well, as long as the price is right. What the U. S.
exports worldwide, what they are exporting and probably more importantly, who they exporting to, and how is it helping Americans keep jobs. So, how much does it actually cost the U. S. just to ensure that it has the biggest stick it can possibly have?According to The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in the fiscal year report for 2009, based on the budget request by the Bush administration the amount reached approximately 711 billion dollars.
In 2010, the United States took the number one spot in the world spending 698 billion dollars, with China coming in second with an estimated 119 billion dollars (O’Doherty). The report states that the Department of Defense is accountable for all the spending, from Pentagon operations, nuclear weapons related activity, to ongoing operations in the Middle East.The United States accounted for 48 percent of the world’s military spending that year and spends more than the next 45 highest spending countries combined (Hellman). In order to pay off our 14 trillion dollar national debt, every citizen would each have to pay an approximate amount of 46 thousand dollars each, or just about 129 thousand dollars per taxpaying citizen. Today, just less than 700 million of the national debt is going towards defense and wars that include a subsidy for continued combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (United States National Debt Clock).According to this year’s estimates those numbers are actually down approximately 11 to 13 million from the 2009 fiscal year report (Hellman). These are all pretty serious amounts when one takes into consideration what Gzedit pointed out that none of the 2011 numbers take into account, Veteran’s costs, nuclear weapons work by the Department of Energy, military facets of U. S.
foreign aid, Homeland Security expense, and interest on past military spending done with borrowed money (Gzedit) With all that money being spent, wouldn’t it be nice to know where it’s all going?Where do all of those hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars go towards exactly? In the National Defense Budget Estimates for FY 2009, the Department of Defense estimated an expenditure of 588. 2 billion dollars in September of 2008 (Hellman). It breaks down to the Department of Defense bill of roughly 495 billion dollars, a military construction bill of another 24 billion dollars and an addition Global War on Terrorism request for additional supplies and allowances of 70 billion dollars added on to the end.
These numbers all break down in different ways, for example the Department of Defense bill breaks down into what costs are incurred with the basic running of the Defense Department. Military personnel, operational maintenance, procurement, among others all fall into this category. Military construction and family housing all fall into the Military construction bill category. As Global War on Terrorism supplies and allowances are all added funds requested to help the efforts of the actual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (O’Doherty).
Tack on a few extra expenses like atomic energy defense activities, various compensation funds, some CIA and FBI related funds and expenses, you can up the total number by about 24 billion and see how in 2009 the estimated expenditure totaled over 611 billion dollars. The majority of that money is going into research and development like 9. 7 billion on the F-35 Joint strike fighter (United States Department of Defense 1-7) America’s latest in multi capable stealth jet fighter, another 2. 6 billion for the F/A-18E/F Hornet, (United States Department of Defense 1-19) an existing jet fighter that is set to receive overall upgrades.Even 749 million on the Brigade Combat Team Modernization, (United States Department of Defense 2-3) a complete over haul on techniques and tactics for most of the ground troops for a better cohesive operational force. Of course it doesn’t all stop there, as if the United States investing in billions of dollars to be in first place worldwide defense spending it also takes the number one spot as far as arms exporting worldwide. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States surpassed Russia and established an increasing dominance in Foreign Military Sales (FMS – government-to-government sales) (Sthol 27).
In 2006 the United States brought in an estimated 11 million dollars in delivered arms sales to Africa, 606 million from Latin America, 2. 54 billion from Europe and 4. 2 billion from Asia and Australia. However, since the end of the 1991 Gulf War , the Middle East that has been the United States’ best costumer when it comes to buying American military hardware.
Topping an estimated 4. 29 billion in 2006 was Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Omen who collectively outspent most of the world (Sthol 27). The United States is practically exporting anything from riffles, protective body armor, to attack helicopters and fighter jets.It is deals like this that actually help boost some local economies and keep people employed. For example in the outskirts of Lambert-St Louis International Airport houses an older factory building where Boeing runs their F-15 fighter jets production lines which have not seen an American order sense 2001. Foreign orders have been the only thing keeping this and others locations like this one still open and operational. It was Saudi Arabia with a 60 billion dollar order to Boeing for 84 F-15 fighter jets and 70 Apache attack helicopters, also made byBoeing that has extended the life of these production facilities through 2018 (Mina).
It’s the might of our military that ensures our security, protects our freedoms, and guarantees us our rights. At just under 700 billion dollars many would think it’s a pretty big check to cash. Ensuring that we have the big stick on worldwide military spending, the kind of sticks we are buying with that money and what sticks the United States is selling to their friends in order to ensure ourselves that the 700 billion dollars are being wisely spent.Our tax dollars coming together full circle to protect the tax payer and in some cases keep the tax payer employed as noted with the Boeing production line. This spending is not only constant and continuous but necessary especially as combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan continue. And as the wars dwindle down and come to an eventual end so will the amount of spending we see. Until that time the United States must do what it takes to continue carrying the big stick or risk moving backwards in everything that it has accomplished thus far.Works citedAnctll, Christina, Marie Curtin, Don Fronzaglla, and Nicole Gomez.
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