Trump Wants to Rebuild Our “Depleted Military?” Here’s the Math Showing Why That’s Insane

Defense Spending & Our Depleted MilitaryThe Trump administration has announced that they plan to increase defense spending — which, of course, is actually war spending — by another $54 billion. To give you an idea of how much that is, a stack of 54 billion dollar-bills would be about 5,901 km and, if stacked sideways, could reach from New York City across the Atlantic Ocean to Paris, France.  $54 billion/per-year would be enough to buy a new AK-47 every 2 years for each US adult, fix the Flint water-crisis about 36 times, or nearly double our spending on food-stamps.

That sure sounds like a lot — it’s certainly not chump-change. Trump-change, maybe — but could the United States really need that much more for defense? Let’s look at the numbers….

How “Badly Depleted” is the US Military?

“Our military has been so badly depleted”
     -Donald Trump

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute ( SIPRI ), the United States spent $596 billion on defense in 2015, which is more than 1/3rd of the $1.7 trillion spent by the entire world during the same year. In the same year, the US military budget ranked first in military spending, far ahead of the next 2 highest spenders, China & Saudi Arabia, who had budgets of about $215 & $87 billion. In fact, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, & 8th largest military budgets in the world still spent less than the United States. Here’s a chart for the visual learners in the audience:

US Military Spending vs. Other Countries

With these facts in mind, it certainly can’t be our military budget that Trump was referring to when he said our military was “badly depleted.” ( Unless, of course, he’s referring to the $125 billion that the Pentagon misplaced )

What depleted military can he be talking about?

US Military Power vs. China & Russia

The Depleted Military of the United States
US military Spending as a % of world military spending

It can’t be our air power — the US has somewhere around 13,444 aircraft that are ready for war, while China has a mere 2,942 & Russia has just 3,547! China does have a larger naval fleet than ours — but that’s mostly due to their higher numbers of small escorts & patrol craft. The United States’ Navy, however, includes nearly twice the number of destroyers that China has & can boast of 19 aircraft carriers, compared to China’s 1.

Russia also possesses just 1 aircraft carrier.

The US Military Is Not Depleted
But Donald Trump’s Brain Might Be…

Not only is the US military far from depleted, it is literally the largest military in the history of human civilization & is ridiculously better-funded than any other that currently exists. How he will pay for the proposed $54 billion increase is also a mystery — even if republicans in congress actually succeeded at destroying the Environmental Protection Agency ( as they’ve proposed ), the EPA’s entire budget is just $8.3 billion & Trump has promised not to cut Social Security or Medicare. Half of the Department of Education’s budget could do it — or most of the food stamps program, perhaps?

Or maybe Trump should simply imagine the funding, just like he imagined the problem in the first place?

In solidarity,
John Laurits

submit to reddit

*If you appreciate the articles on this site, please consider buying the author a cup of coffee at this link to his PayPal or, if you appreciate them a lot (& if you have the means), you can also pledge a monthly $1, $2, or $3, through John’s Patreon page — think of it like a magazine-subscription, except directly to a writer & artist…

John Laurits Patreon

Best Comment Section in the Galaxy

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Ira Dember

If we are ready for war and are spending on war, then I invite you to join my call to revert the Orwellian-named Department of Defense to its historical name for over 150 years (1789-1947), the Department of War.

This is not a matter of pedantry, but reclaiming a lethal lexicon from the extreme right, which became normalized as the ‘center’.

Make a pledge: start referring to our military department by its traditional, historical, accurate and transparent name: the US War Department. Cross the Rubicon with me: reclaim the lexicon. George Lakoff would likely be pleased.

Thanks for listening — and for consistently speaking the One True Name.

Leon Stephens
Well, I’ve been calling it the Department of Aggression for some years. Only problem with reverting to Department of War is that it doesn’t deal with the pretense that “we’re only defending ourselves against terrorist threats – and attacks!” Not to mention the threats from Iraq, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Yemen, Somalia, Cuba, Russia, China, Mongolia, etc.. In fact, anyone who believes that Afghanistan attacked the United States in September 2001 – anyone who believes that such a thing is possible – will easily accept the idea that (for example) Papua New Guinea is a threat to US security. And with the poor peace-loving US so threatened… Read more »
Adrienne Simpson
Adrienne Simpson

The only issue I have with this article is the fact that it doesn’t take into account that, since we are a Monetarily Sovereign country, he can actually have Congress write a bill that would have the Fed add more money to their books in order to pay for it; it doesn’t have to come from anywhere, just the bill.

Other than that, I totally agree that it’s insane to put so much effort into the adding to an already over-the-top military when that same effort would be better spent in taking care of people in this country.

Linden Politi
Linden Politi

I think the money will come from both taxing the poor (while exploding debt by decimating taxes for the super rich), and by destroying Medicaid, which insures 70 million Americans well and efficiently.. far more than rely on Medicare, and many poorer and more sick. Medicaid has saved my life and many others and is a model for efficiency and humanity, insurance companies, hence GOP henchmen hate that. People will die. People will suffer then die. Medicaid is what separates us from becoming India where the sick and poor starve and die in the streets.

Linden Politi
Linden Politi

Meanwhile oil oligarchs and Lockheed CEOs rake in billions. We need a people’s revolution. We need revolutionary leaders backed by millions.

Leon Stephens
I assume you mean backed by millions of people, not millions of dollars, which would be an utter fantasy. But the millions of people will also remain a fantasy until those millions wake up to what’s actually going on. To be sure, there’s a lot of dissatisfaction and people are angry about the state of chaos and the Liberal and Neocon lies – but it’s precisely that, without any clear idea of the real situation, above all, in “foreign policy” – which John has identified as an Orwellian euphemism – which brought the chameleon Trump to power, playing on the victimism and the fear that accompany that fundamental… Read more »

I have this horrible feeling that’s one incentive for more military.