The Meaning of Military Expenditures

My last post was a data dump without a conclusion. I probably need to add one, although I usually avoid providing opinions. There is no shortage of opinions in the American blogosphere and political landscape. I think a little less opinion and a little more data has value. If you want opinions, there are plenty of services out there who specialize in that, and from any perspective and viewpoint that you like.

From the previous Military Expenditures posting one could draw a number of conclusions:

  1. That the American allies in NATO and Asia are not carrying their weight…or…
  2. The threat from Russia and China is grossly overstated
    1. Russia’s defense expenditures are $51.6 billion while NATO (not including the U.S.) is around $300 billion.
    2. China’s defense expenditures are $145.8 billion (or is it $215 billion) while Japan, South Korea and Taiwan’s combined are $85 billion.
    3. The U.S. is spending $597.5 billion.
    4. …or….
  3. The U.S. is spending too much on defense.
    1. Beware of the “military-industrial complex?”
    2. …or….
  4. This is the cost of being the world leader (3.3% of GDP on defense)….or…
  5. The higher U.S. defense expenditures are certainly justified because:
    1. We are covering against Russia ($51.6 billion)
    2. We are covering against China ($145.8 billion)
    3. Then there is ISIL….and….
    4. Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia
    5. We have other missions, like nuclear deterrence, that adds to our cost.
    6. We need to continue to develop and maintain our technological edge, and that costs money.
    7. …or….
  6. The U.S. is spending too much on the wrong things…or….
  7. Maybe defense budget is not really a good measurement of military power….or…
  8. Maybe Russia and China are getting more “bang for the buck” then the U.S. and its western allies….or…
  9. Whatever else I forgot to mention….or….
  10. Some or all of the above.

Anyhow, one could interpret the figures in my previous post a number of different ways depending on their own political leanings and biases.

And…..I still didn’t really add a conclusion.

This entry was posted in China, Conventional warfare, Eastern Europe and tagged , , , , , by Christopher A. Lawrence. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience. ... Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation. ... His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024). ... Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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