U.S. DoD Defense Spending

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Welcome to the DoD Defense Spending Section on AeroWeb. This section covers defense spending both by spending type (procure-ment, RDT&E, O&M, MILPERS and MILCON), military service, and defense program. All defense budget figures presented on this page is by Budget Authority (discretionary + mandatory). All figures are current dollars (no inflation adjustment).




FY 2017


In FY 2017 (October 1, 2016 - September 30, 2017), total DoD spending by Budget Authority (discretionary + mandatory) was $626.2 billion dollars (up $30.5B / +5.1% from FY 2016). Of this amount, $543.8 billion was Base funding + $82.5 billion for OCO. In FY 2017, $124.3 billion was provided for Procurement and $74.1 billion for RDT&E. DoD Outlays (cash payments) were $568.9 billion.



FY 2018


In FY 2018 (October 1, 2017 - September 30, 2018), total DoD spending by Budget Authority (discretionary + mandatory) was $694.5 billion dollars (up $68.2B / +10.9% from FY 2017). Of this amount, $623.4 billion was Base funding + $65.2 billion for OCO + $5.8 billion in Emergency funding (Missile Defeat and Defense Enhancements). In FY 2018, $147.5 billion was provided for Procurement and $92.0 billion for RDT&E. DoD Outlays were $600.6 billion.



FY 2019


In FY 2019 (October 1, 2018 - September 30, 2019), total DoD spending by Budget Authority (discretionary + mandatory) was $712.6 billion dollars (up $18.1B / +2.6%). Of this amount, $641.1 billion was Base funding + $68.6 billion for OCO + $2.8 billion in funds for Disaster Relief/Border Security. In FY 2019, $146.8 billion was provided for Procurement and $95.5 billion for RDT&E. DoD Outlays were $654.0 billion.



FY 2020


In FY 2020 (October 1, 2019 - September 30, 2020), by Budget Authority, the DoD budget (discretionary + mandatory) is $721.5 billion dollars (up $9.0B / +3.6%). Of this amount, $642.2 billion is Base funding + $71.3 billion for OCO + $8.0 billion in funds for Hurricanes Michael/Florence relief. In FY 2020, the DoD budget provides $144.0 billion for Procurement and $104.7 billion for RDT&E. DoD Outlays of $689.6 billion are expected.



FY 2021


In FY 2021 (October 1, 2020 - September 30, 2021), by Budget Authority, the DoD budget (discretionary + mandatory) is $716.2 billion dollars (down $5.4B / -0.7%). Of this amount, $647.2 billion is Base funding + $69.0 billion for OCO. In FY 2021, the DoD budget provides $137.2 billion for Procurement and $106.7 billion for RDT&E. DoD Outlays of $729.3 billion are expected.

DoD Spending FY2020-FY2021: Total DoD OCO O&M Procurement RDT&E MILPERS MILCON
-0.7% -13.0% -0.1% -4.7% +1.9% +6.7% -59.3%
DoD Spending FY2019-FY2020: Total DoD OCO O&M Procurement RDT&E MILPERS MILCON
+3.6% +11.0% +2.6% -1.9% +9.6% +3.8% +47.6%
DoD Budget (total) Budget Funds for OCO DoD Outlays (money spent) DoD Procurement
5-Year DoD Defense Spending Overview

Total DoD Defense Spending, Base, OCO and Procurement | FY 2011 - FY 2021

DoD Defense Spending from FY 2011 to FY 2019, FY 2020 and FY 2021 - Base, OCO, Procurement and Total

As shown be the chart above, total DoD defense spending (Base + OCO) increased to $695.7 billion in FY 2010. From FY 2010-13, defense spending declined every year. In FY 2014, DoD spending ($595.7 billion) increased for the first time in four years, then fell again in FY 2015. In FY 2016, defense spending climbed back to the FY 14 level and increased again to $626 billion in FY 2017. In FY 2018, DoD spending increased as much as 10.9% to $694.5 followed by another 2.6% increase to $712.6 billion in FY 2019. For FY 2020 (fiscal year that began October 1, 2019), a 3.6% increase in defense spending is expected. The budget calls for total spending (discretionary + mandatory) of $721.5 billion. In FY 2021 (fiscal year starting October 1, 2020), DoD spending is expected to decline slightly to $716.2 billion (-0.7%).

In FY 2021, the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) request is $69.0 billion, which is a $10.3 billion or 13% decline from $79.3 billion in FY 20 (note: FY 20 includes $8.0 billion in Emergency Funds). Funds for OCO have declined over the past decade due to a decline in overseas military operations.

DoD spending on Procurement (Base + OCO) declined from $165.0 billion in FY 2008 to $97.8 billion in FY 2013. In FYs 2014 and 2015, DoD Procurement increased slightly to $100.4 billion (+2.7%) and $102.1 billion (+1.7%), respectively. In FY 2016, procurement increased as much as 16.4% to $118.9 billion followed by a +4.6% increase in FY 2017. In FY 2018, procurement jumped 18.6% to $147.5 billion but declined 0.5% to $146.8 billion the following year. In FY 2020, we can expect procurement to fall another 1.9% to $144.0 billion, followed by a 4.7% decrease to 137.2 billion in FY 2021.

All figures are by Budget Authority (discretionary + mandatory). Source is the official FY 2021 Budget Request from the U.S. Department of Defense.

DoD Spending | Military Personnel, O&M, Procurement, RDT&E, and Military Construction (MILCON)

As illustrated, the by far largest line item in the DoD budget is Operations & Maintenance (O&M). In FY 2021, $290.3 billion has been provided for O&M expenditures, down $0.3 billion (-0.1%) from FY 2020.

In FY 2021, $174.1 billion in funding for Military Personnel (MILPERS) is expected, up $10.9 billion (+6.7%) from FY 2018. In FY 2021, procurement funds amount to $137.2 billion, down $6.8 billion (-4.7%) from FY 2020.

Another significant DoD budget item is RDT&E (Research Development Test & Evaluation). In FY 2021, budgeted spending on RDT&E amounts to $106.7 billion, up $2.0 billion (+1.9%) from FY 2020. RDT&E expenditures have surged over the past six years and are up more than 67%.

A relatively small budget item is Military Construction (MILCON). In FY 2021, projected DoD MILCON is $6.8 billion, down $9.9 billion (-59.3%) from FY 2020. Not too long ago, in FY 2009, spending on MILCON was as high as $26.8 billion.


All defense spending figures are by Budget Authority (discretionary + mandatory) and include Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. Source is the official FY 2021 Budget Request from the U.S. Department of Defense.

DoD Defense Spending by Cost Type FY 2011 to FY 2021 - O&M, MILPERS, Procurement, RDT&E, MILCON

DoD Defense Spending in Detail by Military Service | FY2000 - FY2021

In the following, we focus on DoD defense spending by service and cost/expense categories. There are major differences in the way the military services spend their funds. For example, the Army is relatively "low-tech" compared to the Navy and the Air Force, due to the fact that the Army spends a higher proportion of funds on Military Personnel and O&M while spending less on Procurement and RDT&E.

The Navy and Air Force spend more money on Procurement and RDT&E than the Army, even though the latter has received more funding in total in recent years. This is explained by the Navy's and Air Force's greater demand for high technology systems (aircraft, missiles, ships etc.). At the same time, the Army relies heavily on manpower to operate. In the following, the differences in spending are highlighted and discussed.

Total DoD Spending by Service | FY2000-FY2021

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DoD Total Budget by Military Service FY 2000 to FY 2019, FY2020 and FY 2021

From FY 2003 to FY 2014, the Army received the most DoD funding followed by the Navy and the Air Force. However, in FY 15 both the Navy and Air Force surpassed the Army. In FY 2021, the Navy is expected to receive $207.1 billion, down from $209.1 billion or -0.9% from FY 2020.

In FY 2021, $206.9 billion in total funding is provided for the Air Force, up from $205.2 billion or +0.9% from FY 2020.

In FY 2021, the Army will receive $177.9 billion, down from $178.4 billion or -0.3% from FY 2020.

Clearly, while the Army experienced major budget cuts from FY 2011-15, the Navy, USAF and Defense-Wide agencies (such as MDA, DARPA, SOCOM and DISA) were much less impacted.

Figures are by Budget Authority (discretionary + mandatory) and include Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). Source: FY 2021 DoD Budget Request.

Procurement Spending by Service | FY2000-FY2021

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DoD Procurement FY 2000 to FY 2019, FY2020 and FY 2021

As shown, the Navy is expected to receive the most DoD procurement funds in FY 2021 followed by the Air Force. In FY 2021, $57.3 billion is provided for Navy procurement, down from $61.7 billion or -7.0% from FY 2020.

In FY 2021, the Air Force is expected to receive $49.0 billion, down from $50.0 billion or -2.0% from FY 2020.

In FY 2021, the Army is expected to receive $25.1 billion, down from $25.6 billion or -2.0% from FY 2020.

Clearly, the Army is procuring much fewer vehicles, helicopters, weapons, missiles and other products and parts compared to the peak in FY 2008 (FY08-FY21: -62.7%).

Figures are by Budget Authority (discretionary + mandatory) and include Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). Source: FY 2021 DoD Budget Request.

RDT&E Spending by Service | FY2000-FY2021

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DoD RDT&E FY 2000 to FY 2019, FY2020 and FY 2021

The Air Force is expected to receive by far the most RDT&E (Research Development Test & Evaluation) funds in FY 2021 followed by Defense-Wide activities (mainly MDA Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) programs), the Navy and Army. In FY 2021, $47.8 billion has been provided for Air Force RDT&E, up from $45.5 billion in FY 2020 or +5.1%. Since FY16, Air Force RDT&E is up a staggering 95%.

In FY 2021, the Navy is projected to receive $21.5 billion, up from $20.3 billion or +5.9% from FY 2020.

In FY 2021, the Army is projected to receive $12.8 billion, up from $12.5 billion or +1.8% from FY 2020.

Clearly, the Air Force is the most "high-tech" branch in the U.S. military.

Figures are by Budget Authority (discretionary + mandatory) and include Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). Source: FY 2021 DoD Budget Request.

O&M, Operations & Maintenance | FY2000-FY2021

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DoD O&M FY 2000 to FY 2019, FY2020 and FY 2021

As illustrated, Defense-Wide agencies are projected to receive the most O&M (Operations & Maintenance) funding in FY 2021 followed by the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

In FY 2021, $73.0 billion in O&M funds are provided for the Army, down from $75.1 billion or -2.7% from FY 2020.

In FY 2021, the Navy is expected to receive $70.6 billion, up from $68.0 billion or +3.8% from FY 2020.

In FY 2021, the Air Force is expected to receive $65.9 billion, up from $63.8 billion or +3.3% from FY 2020.

Figures are by Budget Authority (discretionary + mandatory) and include Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). Source: FY 2021 DoD Budget Request.

Military Personnel Expenses | FY2000-FY2021

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DoD MILPERS FY 2000 to FY 2019, FY2020 and FY 2021

As illustrated, the Army is expected to receive the most Military Personnel (MILPERS) funds in FY 2021 followed by the Navy, the Air Force, and Defense-Wide agencies.

In FY 2021, $65.5 billion in MILPERS funds are provided for the Army, up from $62.6 billion or +4.6% from FY 2020.

In FY 2021, the Navy is expected to receive $55.2 billion, up from $51.9 billion or +6.4% from FY 2020.

In FY 2021, the Air Force is expected to receive $42.8 billion, up from $40.3 billion or +6.4% from FY 2020.

Clearly, the Army relies heavily on manpower.

Figures are by Budget Authority (discretionary + mandatory) and include Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). Source: FY 2021 DoD Budget Request.

MILCON, Military Construction Costs | FY2000-FY2021

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DoD MILCON FY 2000 to FY 2019, FY2020 and FY 2021

As illustrated, the Navy is expected to receive the most DoD funds for MILCON (Military Construction) in FY 2021 followed by Defense-Wide agencies, the Air Force, and the Army.

In FY 2021, the Navy is projected to receive $2.2 billion, down from $6.7 billion or -66.6% from FY 2020.

In FY 2021, $1.2 billion in MILCON funds are provided for the Air Force, down from $5.4 billion or -77.3% from FY 2020.

In FY 2021, the Army is projected to receive $1.1 billion, down from $2.0 billion or -41.9% from FY 2020.

Army MILCON has been hit hard in recent years and was down a whopping 91.8% from the peak in FY 2009 until bottoming out in FY 2017.

Figures are by Budget Authority (discretionary + mandatory) and include Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). Source: FY 2021 DoD Budget Request.

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