The US Military Budget Compared to Other Countries

When we consider the military budget of the United States, we often look at many of the other programs that have budgets, and we wonder why the military budget is so high. If it were up to many individuals, our military budget would be cut drastically. But, would that be wise?

Before I begin to do a comparison of the US military budget with other countries, let’s first look at how it compares with other budgets of government programs in the United States.

Budgets For 2015

The United States military budget for 2015 was approximately $600 Billion.

The United States education budget for 2015 was approximately $102 Billion.

The United States transportation budget for 2015 was approximately $85 Billion.

The United States NASA budget for 2015 was approximately $17.5 Billion.

While there are those who claim these figures are out of line, I beg to differ. I do believe the education budget should be higher, but in my opinion, the military budget needs to stay high.

Why do I say that?

Let’s first look at comparisons of past military budgets with the United States.

Military Budget Comparisons

I am going to provide the approximate spending for the top 10 military budgets according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. These are for 2015.

  1. United States: $600 Billion

  2. China: $215 Billion

  3. Saudi Arabia: $87 Billion

  4. Russia: $66.5 Billion

  5. United Kingdom: $55.5 Billion

  6. India: $51 Billion

  7. France: $51 Billion

  8. Japan: $41 Billion

  9. Germany: $39.5 Billion

  10. South Korea: $36.5 Billion

While these figures seem unreasonably high for the United States in comparison to other countries, there are many other factors that people often do not consider.


Known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, there are many member countries, but the United States sends the most troops, arms and other resources into this organization. NATO accounts for a large part of the US military funding.


When we consider the nations listed in the comparison above, we must also consider just how much area must be defended.

The US has the most military bases not located on the mainland out of these countries. All of these bases must have funding to defend them.

And, the borders. The United States must have defenses of all coastlines which amount to 12,383 miles. Not to mention the border of Mexico. We also must have slight defense on the Canadian side.

The only other countries on the list with massive borders are China and Russia.


GDP stands for gross domestic product. When we consider military spending, we should consider what percentage of the GDP is used in military spending. While the United States is highest in military spending, we come in at #5 in the percentage of GDP used in military spending. Here is the top 10 list in military spending in comparison to the country’s GDP percentage.

  1. Saudi Arabia: 13.7% of GDP.

  2. United Arab Emirates: 5.7% of GDP.

  3. Russia: 5.4% of GDP.

  4. Israel: 5.4% of GDP.

  5. United States: 3.9% of GDP.

  6. South Korea: 2.6% of GDP.

  7. India: 2.3% of GDP

  8. France: 2.1% of GDP.

  9. United Kingdom: 2% of GDP

  10. China: 1.9% of GDP.

The United States is just slightly above the world average on this.

Per Capita

Another thing that we should consider when it comes to military spending is the cost per person. The United States comes in at #3 on this list.

  1. Saudi Arabia: $2949

  2. Israel: $2310

  3. United States: $1859

  4. Australia: $1000

  5. United Kingdom: $878

  6. France: $702

  7. South Korea: $681

  8. Iraq: $569

  9. Germany: $454

  10. Taiwan: $438

My own personal opinion is: I am happy to donate $1,859 yearly to know that we stay free and defended from enemies bent on destroying us.

Other Facts

When you consider the figures, some are actually skewed in comparison. We have security for nuclear plants, as well as cyber security intertwined in the United States military budget. Other countries separate some of these things into other budgets.

Also, we have the most superior technology. Yes, China is making technological moves, but they are relying on antiquated machinery, and their troops are paid rice in comparison to US troops. This is actually a situation in many countries…soldiers are not paid properly, and veterans are not treated the way they should be.

If the United States was to drop our military spending drastically, the world would suffer, and terrorists would gain an upper hand in the many battles we are in with them.

Smart Spending

Now, one area that I believe our military needs to work on is smart spending. There is a system in which different entities are told they need to spend unused budget funds or lose them. I think that instead of punishing them for saving money, they should be rewarded. We need to use a less is more attitude. If the platoon’s supply is stocked well, do not over order just to spend the funds.

I believe you see my point. Hopefully, the Department of Defense will look into measures to make this a reality.

Final Thoughts

We live in the most powerful and safest country in the world. We need to keep it that way, and the way to do so is through military spending. No matter if Republican or Democrats run the politics in the United States, we need a bipartisan agreement that we will not allow our military to be cut down.

If we do allow military cuts that some people desire, we won’t have to worry about Democrats or Republicans anymore, because someone like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State will have control of the country.

That is my opinion. You may not like it. That is fine, and you have the opportunity to provide your opinion in the comment section below, but please be civil about it. We reserve the right to not accept derogatory comments.

Thank you for visiting and may God Bless America!


chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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