The Military Spending of the US Government in the Fight against Global Terrorism since 9/11


Ever since the 2002 financial year up to 2016, the United States has spent 16% of its discretionary budgetary allocation in the fight against global terrorism. This was according to a report that was published by the Pentagon last month. The funding of counter-terrorism efforts includes the extensive homeland security efforts by the US federal government. It also provides for the financing of the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the international funding programs. All these wars have cost the American taxpayer over $2.8 trillion between the 2002 and 2017 financial years. For the last 15 years, the total amount averages at the annual spending of $186 billion.

To put the annual counterterrorism funding into perspective, it represents the defence budgets of South Korea, India and Russia combined. The annual spending by the United States government in the counterterrorism effort is also more than what the US spent in the Vietnam and Korean Wars combined. This is according to an estimate released by the Defense Department using the 2011 US dollars. In 2008, the fight against global terrorism spending was at its highest, recording an annual figure of $260 billion. However, the figure deflated to $175 in 2017. The 2017 figure is over two and a half times the budget that President Donald Trump has requested Congress for the Health and Human Services for the 2019 financial year.

According to national security analysts and defence experts, Muslim extremists, such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, have committed acts of terrorism that have led to the death of 100 American citizens since the 9/11 attacks. That figure has an annual average of six people. On the other hand, more than 20,000 US nationals lost their lives in 2016 alone as a result of opioid overdoses. In the last 15 years, the US Department of Homeland Security has spent over $970 billion. This figure amounts to 35% of the counterterrorism budget. The Defence Department spent a total of $1.7 trillion over the same period on emergency and contingency operations abroad. The DOD budget represents 60% of the total US government spending on the fight against global terrorism.

War-related spending by the US government at USAID and the State Department totaled to $138 billion, which is only 5% of the total budget. The American federal government also spent %11 billion on non-OCO counterterrorism aid to foreign nations over the same period. This represents only 0.5% of the total counterterrorism budget.


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