Resource: Military Spending


The $750 billion military budget proposed by the Trump Administration for FY2020 is extraordinarily wasteful. House Democrats have proposed a $733 billion budget reflecting an inflationary increase. Expenditures on health, education and social programs, on which the well-being and development of our nation’s children depend, have again been reduced.  The debt incurred for these military expenditures will be borne by future generations.

Spending on this scale favors the use of military means to settle conflicts over nonviolent approaches.  British historian Arnold Toynbee wrote: “Militarism has been by far the commonest cause of the breakdown of civilizations. The single art of war makes progress at the expense of all arts of peace.”  He concludes “Of the 22 major civilizations that have appeared in history, 19 of them collapsed when they reached the moral state the United States is in now.”

Unlike other agencies, the Pentagon is rarely held accountable for its spending or for the performance and quality of what it purchases.  Cost overruns are generally accepted with little question or consequence.  There are also examples of new, poorly designed and inadequately tested weapon systems that underperform their predecessors.

The Minnesota Peace Project asks that Congress consider the following:

      *     Approve the People’s Budget for FY 2020 introduced by the Congressional

             Progressive Caucus.

      *     Reintroduce the Audit of the Pentagon Act.

We request these specific cuts in military spending that, if implemented, will save money for much needed domestic programs, with negligible impact on the nation’s defense or security:

  1. Reduction of Overseas Contingency Operations account (OCO) by half, to $4.6 billion. The OCO, referred to as the Pentagon slush fund, is partially outside the limits imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Theoretically, it is meant to pay for the war on terror.  For FY 2020 nearly $174 billion is proposed for the war budget and emergency funding, only a bit more than $25 billion is allocated to be spent for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
  2. Opposition to the President’s request for emergency funding for “the wall.”  The 2020 OCO budget includes $9.2 billion in emergency spending for building President Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.  There is no emergency.  It is a tactic to undermine the role and actions of Congress. Ceding the powers of Congress to the president sets a precedent that whittles away at the checks and balances of our democracy.
  3. Maintain funding for the International Affairs Budget plus the rate of inflation. Diplomacy is one of the most effective ways to make the U.S. and the world more secure.  The Trump budget calls for a one-third (1/3) cut in international affairs spending, which is about one-fifteenth (1/15) of the amount allocated for the Pentagon and related agencies included under the category of “national defense.”
  4. Greatly reduce the number of nuclear weapons. Renew nuclear disarmament discussions with Russia to reduce the number of nuclear weapons between the U.S. and Russia that threaten millions of citizens around the world. Support the proposal of House Armed Services chairman, Adam Smith, to cut the vast overkill of our nuclear weapons from 4,000 to 1,000. Embrace the goals of the provisions of the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of the national security policy of the United States.  Renounce the option of using nuclear weapons first; end the President’s role of sole authority to launch a nuclear attack; take nuclear weapons off the U.S. hair-trigger alert; cancel the plan to replace the nuclear arsenal of the United States with modernized, enhanced weapons; and actively pursue a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to mutually eliminate their nuclear supply.




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