We know remarkably little about the nature of the nation’s intelligence spending, other than its supposed total, released in a report every year. By now it’s more than $80 billion.
By Bill Adamski WAMM Newsletter Vol. 39 No. 2 Spring 2021
The U.S. government has always had an unspeakably colossal focus on trying to maintain unwanted, coercive influence in many countries around the world. This is done in the unspoken name of hegemony and/or the extraction of resources [often characterized as U.S. “interests”]. It is most evident in the monstrously outsized diversion of U.S. taxpayer money – both in preparing for and in inflicting war and other military interventions on foreign countries.
The Pentagon budget sucks up more than an outrageously outsized 50 percent of the total Fiscal Year 2021 discretionary budget.[i]
The entire authorized FY 2021 Pentagon budget – a record $741 billion – covers base defense costs plus nuclear weapons research (through the Department of Energy and other agencies), and Overseas Contingency Operations for ongoing foreign war costs (mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan).[ii]
The Pentagon justifies the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East as coming under the 2001 “Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF),” which was passed by Congress reacting hastily and then-President George W. Bush signing it in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Implementing the AUMF has also been arrogantly named the “Global War On Terror.”
A massive foreign intelligence apparatus supports these overseas invasions through “black budgets” shrouded in mystery. Military intelligence is included in the Pentagon budget ($23 billion in 2021).[iii] Additionally, a big part of 18 intelligence agencies within the National Intelligence Program conduct intelligence abroad; nearly $62 billion was allocated for these agencies in 2021.[iv] According to renowned defense watchdog William Hartung, together with Mandy Smithberger, (“Making Sense of the $1.25 Trillion National Security State Budget,” Pogo/Tom Dispatch. May 7, 2019):
We know remarkably little about the nature of the nation’s intelligence spending, other than its supposed total, released in a report every year. By now it’s more than $80 billion. The bulk of the funding, including the CIA and the NSA, is believed to be hidden under obscure line items in the Pentagon budget.[v]
Consequently, we U.S. citizens (indeed, all global residents) need more desperately than ever to demand that our government massively redirect U.S. taxpayer money away from U.S. foreign domination and oppression through wars and other means, and towards supporting human needs in the U.S. and engaging in diplomacy with the world.
[i] Congress Overrides Trump Veto of Defense Bill. Defense News/Assoc. Press. January 1, 2021. tinyurl.com/3vkuaet3
[ii] Explanations of the breakdown of the U.S. budget can be found at: “U.S. Military Budget, Its Components, Challenges, and Growth.” The Balance. Feb 11, 2020. tinyurl.com/yrbj72p7 Note: Total mandatory federal spending ($2.97 trillion) is for social insurance programs paid by the taxpayers – i.e., Social Security, Medicare, unemployment compensation, Medicaid. The Pentagon commands half of $1.47 trillion discretionary portion of the federal budget. Education, health and human services are funded out of the rest.
[iii] “Secretive Military Intelligence Program Budget Hits Nine Year Spending High. Aaron Mehta. October 21, 2020. Defense News. tinyurl.com/52bw9prm
[iv] U.S. Intelligence Community Budget. Office of Director of Intelligence. https://www.dni.gov/index.php/what-we-do/ic-budget
Military spending cards with information for FY2021 on 3 x 5 cardstock are available in quantity from the WAMM office: 612-827-5364; online at womenagainstmilitarymadness.org. A card about nuclear weapons is also available.
The FY2022 budget is being decided now. Expectations are that it will resemble FY2021. Tell Congress to fund human needs, not war! Cut the Pentagon budget!