It's always important to look at the machine that helps mold the world we see today

It’s been more than 50 years since President Dwight D. Eisenhower left office with a warning about America’s military industrial complex. Although military spending in the United States has dropped a little in the last couple years, it is still one of the most dominating forces at play in American politics and industry.

Here are 15 Facts About the American Military Industrial Complex to illustrate just how bad it’s gotten.


  • The United States total military expenditures were $668 billion in 2012. The national defense budget was $530 billion and $115 billion was spent on past and present wars.
  • 39% of all global military spending comes from the United States. China is second with 9.5%.
  • US military spending is almost 4 times more than China, almost 8 times more than Russia, and about 70 times more than Iran.
  • In 2012, 37% of all federal income tax was allocated to the military. Tax payers paid $806 billion towards the military, which includes paying for past wars and the interest on pentagon debt.


  • In 2011, 78% of all arms/military sales in the world came from the United States.
  • More than two thirds of the countries that purchased American military equipment are still considered developing nations.
  • Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Taiwan, India and Australia were the top buyers of US arms. The United States sold a record $66.3 billion of weapons overseas in 2011.


  • The United States is deployed in more than 150 countries around the world, with close to 175,000 of its 1,375,000 active-duty personnel serving outside the United States.
  • It is estimated the US has between 650 to 900 military bases around the world. Some occupy vast sums of land, while others occupy no more than the size of a room.

Lobbying and Profiting:

  • According to Citizens for responsibility and ethics in Washington (CREW), 76 of the 108 three and four star generals and admirals who retired between 2009 and 2011 took jobs with defense contractors or consultants.
  • From 1998 to 2010, defense contractors spent more than $1.2 billion on lobbying.
  • In 2011 the Department of Defense committed to spending nearly $100 billion on just the five biggest defense contractors; Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. Roughly the same amount was spent on the entire federal education budget.
  • That same year, the 100 largest contractors sold $410 billion in arms and military services. Just 10 of those companies sold over $208 billion.
  • There are thousands of companies and corporations with publicly announced contracts with the US Department of Defense. For a complete list, visit

The Results:

  • Since Eisenhower’s speech in 1961, the United States has been involved in over sixty military interventions at home and abroad including four major wars that involved ground troops.



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