Military Budgets and Defense Spending

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The portion of the national budget that is allocated to defense covers salaries, training, and health care; maintains and purchases arms, equipment, and facilities; funds military operations; and funds the development of new technologies. RAND analyzes defense expenditures and advises military and civilian decisionmakers on options to maximize the effectiveness, continuity, and innovation of the nation's military force.

Explore Military Budgets and Defense Spending

  • Blog

    Don't Chop the Air Force — Look to the Reserves

    The Air Force's latest budget plan proposes to cut 25,000 airmen. The recommendations made by the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force (NCSAF) offer an alternative — and less risky — way forward.

    Apr 11, 2014

  • Blog

    Pentagon's Reliance on Europe Is 'Wishful Thinking'

    There needs to be more frank and precise thinking about the kind of support allies are able and willing to provide. Counting on Europeans even just to pull as much weight as they have in the past is an increasingly doubtful proposition.

    Apr 9, 2014

  • Blog

    Why the Pentagon Can't Bypass BRAC

    By trying to cut Congress out of the loop and bypass the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), the Pentagon is more likely to antagonize Capitol Hill and undermine its efforts to make sensible cuts in defense spending.

    Apr 1, 2014

  • Event

    Do Joint Fighter Programs Save Money?

    A March 28, 2014 RAND Congressional Briefing will feature Mark Lorell discussing the costs of joint fighter programs.

    Mar 28, 2014

  • Blog

    The Real Homeland Security Issues for 2014

    Americans should be able to discuss the terrorist threat and how best to meet it, how much of the country’s precious resources should be devoted to homeland security, and the impact intelligence efforts can have on personal privacy and freedom.

    Feb 5, 2014

  • Report

    Improving Federal and Department of Defense Use of Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses

    The report investigates the barriers that service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses may face when attempting to contract with the federal government and the Department of Defense.

    Feb 4, 2014

  • Blog

    Gen. Amos Discusses the Future of the USMC at RAND

    The hard-won lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq over the last decade will serve the U.S. Marine Corps well as it faces new challenges around the world, Marine Corps Commandant James F. Amos told a gathering at RAND's Washington headquarters.

    Jan 29, 2014

  • Report

    Sourcing and Global Distribution of Medical Supplies

    Opportunities exist to gain efficiencies in the global military medical logistics enterprise without sacrificing capability, notably through minimizing intermediate materiel handling, seeking the greatest value from commercial freight, and streamlining warehouse operations.

    Jan 28, 2014

  • Research Brief

    The Department of Defense Should Avoid a Joint Acquisition Approach to Sixth-Generation Fighter

    Incorporating different service requirements in a single joint aircraft design can lead to greater program complexity, increased technical risk, and weight in excess of what an individual service needs.

    Jan 22, 2014

  • Blog

    Thomas V. Jones, Risk-Taking CEO Who Propelled Northrop's Expansion, Revolutionized Aerospace Industry

    Thomas V. Jones, the Stanford-educated engineer who authored a bestselling RAND report in the early 1950s on U.S. Air Force transport options before becoming chief executive of Northrop, died January 7 at the age of 93.

    Jan 17, 2014

  • Blog

    Do Joint Fighter Programs Save Money?

    Joint aircraft programs have not historically saved overall life cycle cost. On average, such programs experienced substantially higher cost growth in acquisition (research, development, test, evaluation, and procurement) than single-service programs.

    Dec 24, 2013

  • Report

    Do Joint Fighter Programs Save Money?

    This report analyzes whether multiservice joint aircraft acquisition programs actually save Life Cycle Cost, and the implications that joint fighter programs can have for the health of the industrial base and operational and strategic risk.

    Dec 16, 2013

  • Report

    Do Joint Fighter Programs Save Money? Technical Appendixes on Methodology

    These appendixes explain the methodology used in an analysis of whether multiservice joint aircraft acquisition programs actually save Life Cycle Cost.

    Dec 16, 2013

  • Report

    The Posture Triangle: A New Framework for U.S. Air Force Global Presence

    U.S. Air Force (USAF) global posture — its overseas forces, facilities, and arrangements with partner nations — faces a variety of fiscal, political, and military challenges. This report seeks to identify why the USAF needs a global posture, where it needs basing and access, the types of security partnerships that minimize peacetime access risk, and the amount of forward presence that the USAF requires.

    Dec 5, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Strengthening the Shipbuilding Industry

    The U.S. Navy and the shipbuilding industrial base on which it depends on are approaching a critical juncture. Unless the Navy and U.S. shipbuilders adopt an integrated set of broad management strategies the United States runs the risk of shortchanging its capabilities to design and produce naval warships for several generations.

    Dec 1, 2013

  • Report

    RAND Review Examines Immigration, Defense Policies, the ACA, and Correctional Education

    Stories in RAND's flagship journal discuss U.S. and Mexican immigration and labor reforms; British, French, and German defense policies in the face of austerity; seven ramifications of the Affordable Care Act; and the cost-effectiveness of correctional education programs.

    Nov 26, 2013

  • Periodical

    Allied Fronts: European Armies Approach Austerity in Instructive Ways

    The British, French, and German armies are well in advance of the Americans in weighing competing priorities in light of what they assess to be the future face of war, making their judgments useful points of reference for U.S. and NATO planners grappling with their own cuts.

    Nov 26, 2013

  • Report

    What Security Cooperation Mechanisms Do Combatant Commands Utilize to Build Partner Capacity?

    Security cooperation with allies and partner countries is an important instrument of the U.S. government for advancing national security objectives. This report characterizes security cooperation mechanisms for capacity-building, produces a detailed database of the mechanism elements, develops and applies a preliminary means of evaluating select mechanisms, and recommends ways to improve mechanism effectiveness and efficiency.

    Nov 22, 2013

  • Report

    Assessment of the Air Force Materiel Command Reorganization

    One challenge of the FY12 Air Force Material Command (AFMC) reorganization was to eliminate civilian manpower positions with minimal, if any, impact on its assigned missions. This report for Congress assesses five elements of this reorganization.

    Nov 21, 2013

  • Blog

    How Philippines Typhoon Aid Helps USA

    In the wake of Haiyan there is no substitute for the capabilities of the U.S. military. At the level of national interest, however, does the case for tasking the U.S. military to international natural disasters hold up — particularly in a time when the Pentagon has seen its budget slashed?

    Nov 12, 2013