U.S. Security Spending Since 9/11

May 27, 2011 

The National Priorities Project has just released its finding that the cost of U.S. security spending in the ten years since 9/11 totaled a mind-boggling $7.6 trillion!  Here’s what they find:

  • The United States has spent more than $7.6 trillion on defense and homeland security since the attacks of September 11, 2001.
  • Total homeland security spending since September 11, 2001 is $635.9 billion.

These figures break down as follows:

Total Spending 2001 Amount 2011 Amount % Increase
Pentagon Base Budget $6.2 trillion $290.5 billion $526.1 billion 43 percent
Nuclear Weapons $204.5 billion $12.4 billion $19.0 billion 21 percent
Iraq and Afghan Wars $1.26 trillion
Homeland Security $635.9 billion $16 billion $69.1 billion 301 percent

There’s more explanation on the website.


National Priorities Project to hold webinar on FY2011 President’s budget

March 11, 2010 

The National Priorities Project is sponsoring a webinar on the FY2011 President’s budget.  Here’s some info and a link:

Out of Balance, is the first webinar in our 2010 Data for Democracy series. Out of Balance will build participants’ capacity to analyze the forthcoming FY2011 President’s budget, released February 1.

Facilitated by Greg Speeter and Chris Hellman, Out of Balance, provides a critical look at the link between federal funds and state and local budgets. It offers a solid and accessible critique of national spending priorities, with a focus on military spending. State-level figures are available for every state to help participants “bring home” the webinar’s main messages.

Out of Balance agenda:

  • Make the connection between federal spending and state and local budgets
  • Examine the FY 2010 federal budget and the impact at the state level
  • Discuss budget trends
  • Look at what’s out of balance?
  • Explore initial steps to creating balance
  • Take action
  • Questions/Discussion

To sign up for one of these events, follow one of the links below.  You must fill out the form on our event tracking site to be confirmed for the meeting.  These webinars are limited to 20 attendees each, so register early to reserve your seat.

1. Thursday March 18th 2010 @ 3:00PM EST – Register

2. Tuesday March 23rd @ 1:00PM EST – Register

3. Thursday April 22nd @ 3:00PM EST – Register

4. Tuesday April 27th @ 1:00PM EST – Register

To schedule a webinar, contact Greg Speeter,
For NPP webinar-related research questions, contact Chris Hellman,

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Security Spending Primer: Getting Smart About The Pentagon Budget

September 24, 2009 

Security Spending Primer:

Getting Smart About The Pentagon Budget

How do people influence federal spending decisions and
stop fighting over smaller and smaller “slices of the budgetary pie”?

What will make our nation more secure?
National Priorities Project is proud to release the Security Spending Primer: Getting Smart About The Pentagon Budget. (PDF Document)

This Primer is a is a “one-stop-shopping” resource and has two main goals:

  • to provide comprehensive, easy-to-understand information on the complexity of the federal budget process; and
  • to help build the capacity of people across the United States who want their voices and their priorities to be heard in the debate over federal spending in general and military spending in particular.

Even though federal spending and policy priorities have an enormous impact on individual lives, the budgeting and policy-making process remains mysterious to most Americans. NPP believes that good, concrete information strengthens social change work. In order to make our federal government more accountable, people – especially those most affected by social inequities – must play a central role in identifying the changes essential to creating better lives for themselves and future generations. They must have access to accurate information that supports effective strategies.

The Primer answers the most frequently asked questions about, and supplies the most commonly requested information on, the Pentagon budget and U.S. military spending and is based on decades of experience in military budget analysis.

It contains 16 two-page fact sheets on topics ranging from nuclear weapons to the employment impact of U.S. military and domestic spending choices to the military cost of securing energy. We designed these fact sheets to be read separately or as a group. We have also included a host of resources: organizational contact lists, sample NPP tools, resources lists, a glossary and more.

Key findings in the primer include:

  • Total spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will exceed $1 trillion February/March 2010.
  • From FY 2001 to FY 2008, federal grants to state and local governments increased 0.57% for every 1% increase in total federal budget authority. Yet, during the same period, federal military expenditures increased 1.47% for every 1% in total federal budget authority. In other words, as the “budgetary pie” increased, the defense slice got bigger and fatter and the “grants to the states” slice of the pie got smaller .
  • Even without including current war allocations, U.S. military spending is at its highest level since World War II. This takes into account the war-time budgets of Vietnam and Korea.
  • Despite rhetoric to the contrary, the Obama Administration is not cutting defense. In fact, the Pentagon budget is projected to grow25% over the next decade.
  • This is an unprecedented period in our nation’s history. Two wars, staggering national debt, the economic crisis and an impending climate crisis make these extremely challenging times. At the same time, President Obama endeavors to respond to the sweeping mandate for change.

NPP is indebted to our collaborators in this project:

  • Frida Berrigan, Senior Program Associate of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation
  • Ruth Flower, Associate Executive Secretary for Legislative Programs at Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
  • Miriam Pemberton, Peace and Security Editor of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS)
  • Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Research Assistant at the Political Economy Research Institute
  • (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Robert Pollin, Professor of Economics and founding Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Susan Shaer, Executive Director of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

For more information:

Jo Comerford, Executive Director (, 413.559.1649)

Chris Hellman, Director of Research (

National Priorities Project

Report shows gap in Army’s 2008 recruitment quantity and quality goals

January 22, 2009 

January 21, 2009

Contact: Suzanne Smith, Research Director
413.320.8530 (cell),
Jo Comerford, Executive Director
413.559.1649 (cell)

On the heels of the U.S. Army’s announced goal of 65,000 additional recruits National Priorities Project (NPP) finds significant gap in Army’s 2008 quantity and quality goals

Online Tool Allows the Public to Analyze Army Data by State, County, Zip Code, Education Level, “Quality of Recruit”

NORTHAMPTON, MA – A new NPP analysis highlights a significant gap in the Army’s 2008 quantity and quality goals. Using census material, combined with data on 2008 Army enlistment obtained through a Freedom of Information Act, NPP research also uncovers a continued trend of disproportionate recruits from southern states.

This work is a result of an expanded NPP initiative, which now includes a database of 2004-2008 military recruitment numbers broken down by zip code, county and state. A snapshot analysis and overview of current military recruitment data, which includes a ranking of counties by recruits per thousand youth, charts and tables on a particular county, zip code or state is available at

“Analysts project a $60 billion increase in the 2010 defense budget, largely tied to increasing troop levels. This increase does not include a six month supplemental funding request to pay for the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which is expected to approach, if not exceed $70 billion,” notes Suzanne Smith, Research Director for National Priorities Project. “These budget figures, combined with a call for increased troop numbers, are striking in light of a report recently issued by a Pentagon advisory group which noted that ‘rising costs of military personnel, their healthcare and overhead’ exacerbated the problem of an ‘unsustainable’ Defense Department budget in tough economic times.”

NPP’s new data shows:

While the army claims 80,517 new army recruits this year, surpassing its goal of 80,000, in actuality, its figures reflect the number of individuals with whom they have some form of – often non-binding – contract. The number of accessions, or actual recruits who reported for duty in 2008, was 69,357.

The percent of Tier 1 recruits, at 74% is 16 percentage points below the army’s goal of 90%. This is the fourth year running that the army has missed its “quality” goal.

The highest recruitment rates – defined as the number of recruits per thousand of 15-24 year-old population – were found in the south with Texas, Florida and Georgia ranking in the top five states.

Jo Comerford, NPP’s Executive Director adds, “Four years of missed recruiting quantity and quality goals, combined with dramatic increases in the recruitment budget, raise important questions which must be tackled. Not only are education rates down but evidence shows increases in physical and felony waivers, the latter having doubled from 2006 to 2007. It stands to reason that we must ask whether the Army has exhausted its potential supply of new quality recruits. Its announced intent to increase its base by 65,000 additional recruits, should signal a clarion call for a new look at the realities of an ever-expanding military. A new approach to national security is what is needed. Clearly, we are being called to a new strategy – for this new day.”

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The National Priorities Project (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) research organization that analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent. Located in Northampton, MA, since 1983, NPP focuses on the impact of federal spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional district and local levels. For more information, go to