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America's Security Index Measured by Dollars Spent on the Military

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posted on Oct, 26 2012 @ 09:49 AM
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North Korea is probably America's worst enemy. North Korea is a pariah nation, that suppresses its own people relentlessly and spends too much money on military extravagances. North Korea is like one of those grubby jackasses that you see near a subway entrance, with his hand out cursing the world at large and cursing everyone that gives him help.

Economic stats about North Korea are mainly estimates, because North Korea doesn't publish accurate figures on anything. The country best equipped to observe and size up North Korea is South Korea. In 1991 South Korea estimated that the North Korean GNP (Gross National Product) was 22.9 billion US dollars.

en.wikipedia.org...

It is believed that the North Korean GNP fell by 50% percent over the next decade. Nobody knows for sure, but the country experienced a severe famine, as is well known. It is possible, even likely, that North korea has rebounded in the decade since 2001. It is possible that their GNP is once more 22.9 billion dollars US.

It might be more. For the sake of discussion, I am going to assume that their GNP grew by almost 50% since 2001 and that it is now a whopping 30 billion dollars US.

Estimates of North Korean military spending vary wildly from about 20% of GNP to about 30% of GNP. To put this in perspective, the United States of America, the world's biggest spender on the military, spends about 4.9% of GNP on "defense".

The US figure varies according to the source, but not very much. It is possible that there is military spending in the United States that is concealed in other parts of the budget or perhaps off the books entirely. In which case US military spending would actually be more than stated by some factor.

For the sake of this discussion I am going to assume that US figures are as published, roughly 720.2 billion dollars spent annually on the military.

As a gesture to the paranoid militaristic crackpots who regard US defense spending as a sacred cow, never to be tampered with, I am going to assume that North Korea spends its entire GNP on the military, and further that North Korea's GNP is a highly unlikely 30 billion dollars US.

Currently, in the world, if you believe the neocons and their ilk, America has a wide range of enemies, most of whom hate America's values and freedoms. Most of these enemy countries strike at America using religious zealots as the weapon of choice. They lack the means to strike America in any other way.

Russia and China have the means to strike America but those two countries have been through so much in terms of economic hard times and war that reasonable people would not class them as "America's enemies". They are more like the new kids at the school dance who are a little shy and stand along the wall of the gym, trying to look friendly and approachable, hoping for a dance with ultra hot America. They are "frendship curious".

North Korea is the bellowing lunatic with the knife in his pocket, his hand out and no rational plan in sight. North Korea is a legitimate concern for anyone passing by, not just America.

Venezuela and Cuba may not like America but it stretches credulity at this point in history to believe that they are planning to strike America. They are having spats with America, whom they consider to be greedy and manipulative, but they would love to get into a "friends with benefits" relationship with America. To some extent they already have that kind of thing going with the US.

America has huge numbers of friends who are quite well off and has come to agreements with these friends to "watch each other's backs" if any other country should decide to push one of the club around.

America spends more than the next ten big military spenders in the world combined and has the best military, bar none. America has a Rolls Royce military, a gold plated Rolls Royce military, a gold plated Rolls Royce military with diamond encrustations and a permanent membership in AAA (NATO).

The following graph is military spending figures but the numbers are grouped more in the manner of a "security index", so that America's military spending is put together with the military spending of it's military allies.

Included also in the graph are the numbers for America's enemies, America's acquaintances, America's "friendship curious", shy, new, would-be dance partners.

These two groups are compared.

Other countries, with negligible military budgets and long histories of minding their own business, have been left out of the graph. The most significant of these is Switzerland, who has an official policy of neutrality in international conflicts and whose very respectable military is geared to self-defence only.

In the case of India and Pakistan I have put India together with America's allies and Pakistan with America's enemies. I know this doesn't reflect either country accurately, but it seems a realistic way of judging the net effect of military dollars spent in that region, from America's perspective.

Colombia spends over 10 billion dollars US annually on the military, and is considered an ally of the United States, but I left them out of the American security index. In view of the somewhat fluid state of America's relationship with Venezuela, one could consider Colombia a counter marker to Venezuela, since the history of those two countries' relationship is rocky. Both countries have been left out of the graph below. In any case Venezuela's military spending is only just over 3 billion dollars US annually.

The list of countries considered comes from the following URL:

en.wikipedia.org...

Here it is, America's Security Index By Dollars Spent



Bottom line. America is a military hypochondriac. America is secure. America can reduce its military budget significantly and still stay secure.

Edit: To correct large error in column one of graph. Apologies to all. The basic argument of the post still stands, I believe.
edit on 26-10-2012 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)




posted on Oct, 26 2012 @ 10:39 AM
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What if...
every country took 1% of their military spending and put it towards humanitarian purposes?



posted on Oct, 26 2012 @ 11:16 AM
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One of the things that comes to my mind when I look at the graph is that after a country spends a certain amount on "security" there seems to be a point at which the amount spent has no relationship to one's actual security.

One could argue that once over the threshold of high security confidence, a lot of the "military" spending might well be superfluous and in fact constitute ways of siphoning money out of the treasury in the guise of bolstering security.

The point where this starts to happen is hard to determine, but I do know that other areas of interest to the American people would love to get some of the cash flowing to the military. Are the military taking too much out of the budget?
edit on 26-10-2012 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 7 2012 @ 05:40 PM
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Isn't it hilarious what they do in one of those "mom and pop" defense ministries like the one in Russia?

When the defense minister is connected to arrangements to sell "undervalued" assets (think marked down surplus weapons) and divert the profits on the sly, he is actually fired
.

Those Russians, they are a laugh a minute.

They don't know that what you are supposed to do to build a giant defense budget/racket is to institutionalize and integrate the sale of undervalued assets into your regular operation, ship them to unstable crackpots abroad in order to fan the fires at new trouble spots and then go to your legislators for a top up of funds to build new and even more terrifying weapons, which will eventually be shipped to other insane tyrants, thus completing the circle.

What's with those Russians anyway? I thought they played chess, fer heaven's sake!




posted on Mar, 11 2013 @ 10:43 AM
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When you read this story, ask yourself in just who's interest does the Military Industrial Complex operate?

www.washingtonpost.com... 2a6085a-8776-11e2-98a3-b3db6b9ac586_story.html?hpid=z6


The biggest barrier to cutting the F-35 program, however, is rooted in the way in which it was developed: The fighter jet is being mass-produced and placed in the hands of military aviators such as Walsh, who are not test pilots, while the aircraft remains a work in progress. Millions more lines of software code have to be written, vital parts need to be redesigned, and the plane has yet to complete 80 percent of its required flight tests. By the time all that is finished — in 2017, by the Pentagon’s estimates — it will be too late to pull the plug. The military will own 365 of them.

By then, “we’re already pregnant,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, who oversees F-35 development for the Pentagon.

When the F-35 finishes testing, “there will be no yes-or-no, up-or-down decision point,” said Pierre Sprey, who was a chief architect of the Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon. “That’s totally deliberate. It was all in the name of ensuring it couldn’t be canceled.”


Talk about hijacking the budget! How would you like "Home Hardware" dictating your renovation plans to you?



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 07:39 AM
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The increased militarization of America's police departments is part and parcel of America's overall approach to national security, an approach that doesn't necessarily increase security but does increase spending, and spending, I believe, is the real point of the exercise.



My predictions:

When every police department in America is outfitted like a division of the Army, the next step will be to mandate the wearing of Kevlar armor in the home, particularly high risk areas like the kitchen, where Mom should also really be outfitted in head to toe hazmat gear, for increased security.

Children will be wanded down at the doorstep and the price of those units should drop as their use becomes nationwide.



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 08:00 AM
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Originally posted by ipsedixit
When you read this story, ask yourself in just who's interest does the Military Industrial Complex operate?

www.washingtonpost.com... 2a6085a-8776-11e2-98a3-b3db6b9ac586_story.html?hpid=z6


The biggest barrier to cutting the F-35 program, however, is rooted in the way in which it was developed: The fighter jet is being mass-produced and placed in the hands of military aviators such as Walsh, who are not test pilots, while the aircraft remains a work in progress. Millions more lines of software code have to be written, vital parts need to be redesigned, and the plane has yet to complete 80 percent of its required flight tests. By the time all that is finished — in 2017, by the Pentagon’s estimates — it will be too late to pull the plug. The military will own 365 of them.

By then, “we’re already pregnant,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, who oversees F-35 development for the Pentagon.

When the F-35 finishes testing, “there will be no yes-or-no, up-or-down decision point,” said Pierre Sprey, who was a chief architect of the Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon. “That’s totally deliberate. It was all in the name of ensuring it couldn’t be canceled.”


Talk about hijacking the budget! How would you like "Home Hardware" dictating your renovation plans to you?


The USAF learned from the Army M2/3 Bardley fiasco. It was a POS upon delivery, but they kept throwing money at it. Now it is a decent combat vehicle...for the Cold War scenario, not so much for Asymetrical warfare.

Last I heard, they were still fighting in Congress requiring the USAF to have two different engines for the F-35 as well, even though the Air Force/Marines only wanted one.

A LARGE chunk of the military budgets go into that black hole called R&D. Never to be seen again, and rarely produces anything that some other company hasn't already produced on their own dime.

The U.S. military is now filled with off-the-shelf components, most of which are not EMP hardened, nor takes the abuse that a combat enviroment dishes out.



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 06:25 PM
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reply to post by TDawgRex
 

I would have fewer complaints if the Military Industrial Complex branched out into more labor intensive jobs like civil engineering projects aimed at rebuilding America's infrastructure. Surely that is part of "defending America".

I don't care if the Army becomes a branch of the construction industry doing a total overhaul of America. I just want to see American tax dollars spent on something other than layer upon layer of military hardware of very questionable application and having deleterious side effects on society in general.

I might not be expressing it well, but I don't want to see budget money directed at the Defense Department and its contractors diverted to other people. That kind of thing would probably get me shot in an alley somewhere. Keep the money but please do something constructive with it. Make more jobs and build something useful. Don't turn the police departments into the Army just to move product.
edit on 23-5-2013 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 06:36 PM
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Right now the military is caught in a quandry, because while we spend more than everyone else, the equipment in use is getting very old, very fast, and is in desperate need of replacement. The Air Force is a prime example.

If you take out the F-22 from the equation (since there are fewer than 200 of them it wouldn't skew the numbers too badly, but just to make it easier on my tired brain that already sucks at math), the fighter fleet which is made up almost entirely of F-15s and F-16s, averages in the mid to late 20s for age. Almost 95% of the F-15 fleet has flown over 90% of its life cycle, and their solution is to extend the life cycle more. They're already G limited, and speed limited due to age, and airframe life. Almost a quarter of the F-16 fleet at one point or another has had to have cracks in the airframe repaired (older blocks in the wings, newer blocks in the bulkheads). The last KC-135 was delivered in the 1960s, and the plan is to fly them until the 2040 timeframe, because it will take that long to get new tankers into service. The YOUNGEST B-52 (which is still a mainstay of the bomber fleet, despite being unable to penetrate modern defenses) is 60 years old as of last year. The B-2s are all in their 20s now.

All of these aircraft are good aircraft still, but they desperately need to find a balance (NOT the F-35) that allows for replacement of aircraft quickly, and cutting spending at the same time. I agree that our budget needs to drop, but not at the expense of our crews, who in some aircraft are facing the problem that their aircraft are twice their age, and will eventually reach the point where they will simply fall out of the sky due to age. Maintenance and upgrades can only do so much to keep a tired aircraft flying.



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 06:48 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 

Thanks for the response. You make excellent points. I'm not a military buff and have no experience in the military or related industries, except for security at the lowest possible level. I know that one cannot simply wade in and lay waste to the defense budget, overturning the applecart of hundreds of thousands of man-hours of careful planning in the process.

I guess my general position is that planning should take into consideration the phasing of obsolete equipment back into the regular economy, even if this means radical new approaches to specifications for military equipment. Of course some obsolete materiel will be sold overseas, but it would be better from the tax payers point of view if money spent on the military cycled back into the national economy at some point during the obsolescence process. How this could be done will be figured out by smarter people than me.

What I see going on now is not well thought out and deliberate. It is spilling too much military hardware into peacetime America and starting to alter the emotional tone and temperature of the society as a whole.



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 06:49 PM
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China spends a lot less on military but you have to remember....They don't pay Big bucks to military contractors like we do. They get a ten for one advantage over the USA as bang for the buck. If the USA spends a trillion bucks the chinese can do a comparable match for a hundred billion.



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 06:53 PM
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reply to post by ipsedixit
 


It's not at all. The cuts being made are being applied willy nilly, and are affecting both the mood of the country, and the mood of the military. We currently have 17 squadrons stood down in the Air Force through July, and then only a couple will come back up. That means 17 squadrons of pilots not flying, maintenance personnel not working on their jets, which means up to 6 months of retraining depending on how long they're stood down.

Personally, I think they should have started replacing the older aircraft with newer versions of them, on a smaller scale until the newer more capable aircraft enter service. Maybe a two for one replacement plan where they buy one newer more capable F-15 to replace an older one (upgraded sensors, instrument displays to show more information, engines, etc), so that instead of having an F-15 fleet about to fall apart, we have a more capable smaller, cheaper force. Then in 10-15 years when the sixth generation fighter starts testing, slowly start phasing out the Eagles. You get a more capable smaller fighter fleet, that's cheaper to operate since they're newer and not as maintenance intensive, and you can spend the money on other things besides the military to boost our economy.



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 07:05 PM
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Originally posted by rickymouse
China spends a lot less on military but you have to remember....They don't pay Big bucks to military contractors like we do. They get a ten for one advantage over the USA as bang for the buck. If the USA spends a trillion bucks the chinese can do a comparable match for a hundred billion.


In a general sense you are right. The Chinese dollar goes further than the American dollar, but comparing the two militaries is a complex task. I'm not sure that the simple value for dollar comparison gives a true picture of the situation as regards strength. A lot of Chinese military spending goes into ground forces that would be very difficult to deploy outside of China and contiguous areas. It is probably aimed at the enemy within, to be perfectly frank.

Realistically, in this post nuclear environment, I don't think any of the major military powers seriously threaten one another, but yes, parity, at least, must be maintained.



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 07:10 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 

I'd really like to see a comprehensive attempt to design military equipment that can be recycled into civilian use in the US. Maybe electronics systems can be designed for multipurpose uses and modularized for insertion into civilian products. Maybe all services should have civil engineering divisions that can do dual purpose jobs aimed both at military preparedness and at keeping America's infrastructure in top shape.

This is about the health of American society and about jobs in my opinion.


edit on 23-5-2013 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 07:14 PM
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reply to post by ipsedixit
 


I would too, but it would be very hard to do, with the encryption and hardening requirements of military equipment. You could do it with some, like the Humvee, and some of the trucks, and maybe some of the naval equipment, but the electronics and commo gear would be hard to do. You'd have to decommission the military aspect of it, which would make it expensive and in some cases it couldn't be done at all.



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 07:25 PM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by ipsedixit
 


I would too, but it would be very hard to do, with the encryption and hardening requirements of military equipment. You could do it with some, like the Humvee, and some of the trucks, and maybe some of the naval equipment, but the electronics and commo gear would be hard to do. You'd have to decommission the military aspect of it, which would make it expensive and in some cases it couldn't be done at all.


You're right.

Scrapping military equipment might have to become a whole "defense industry" of its own. Right now a lot of obsolete equipment is winding up overseas in the hands of friends and enemies alike. This sort of thing needs to be carefully monitored and controlled.

Maybe some items need to be taken down to parts or, security requirements considered, modified for dispersal into civilian industries. There is probably only so much scope for this kind of thing but at the moment I am not aware of any kind of activity along these lines. There might be quite an upside to doing this.

At present, if you believe whistle blowers, there is a large more or less clandestine arms industry moving surplus American materiel out all over the place with very little methodical national security oversight going on. I might be overstating this last bit, but I don't think so.



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 07:36 PM
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reply to post by ipsedixit
 


It wouldn't surprise me in the least. There is supposed to be total oversight via the Foreign Military Sales office, but I'm sure someone has found a way around that, possibly selling "decommissioned" equipment (firing systems removed, etc) that can pretty easily be reactivated if you know how. For example guns are supposed to be filled with cement so they can't be reactivated. But if you have access to a tech pool and equipment, you can pretty easily pull the gun and replace it with something similar that you have built, or that you have been able to buy from somewhere else, and reactivate it.

That might be something someone can look into though. Quite a few vehicles would transfer great for civilian services like search and rescue, or other things like that. It would be a matter of replacing some of the electronics with civilian versions, that are less capable, but that wouldn't matter much.
edit on 5/23/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 08:09 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 

Having gone through years of "conspiracy wars" on ATS, I am coming to the conclusion that a very large percentage of America's problem, in almost every area, could actually be solved by an army of forensic accountants.

Despite Alex Jones and Webster Tarpley, both of whom I respect greatly, I think most of the negative developments we see in America, often ascribed to right wing or oligarchical ideology, are actually systemic problems built into the way that corporations, by their very nature, operate.

Americans are not so open to an ideological analysis of what is wrong with their country, but when you start showing them balance sheets and evidence of misappropriation of funds and shady schemes of tax avoidance, that gets their attention. That is something they can go to their legislators about. That is something people (should) go to jail for.


edit on 23-5-2013 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 08:16 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


I have no doubt that all of that is true. My question is simple: We have been spending like this for decades now. Where did all the Defense money go?



posted on May, 23 2013 @ 08:27 PM
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reply to post by ipsedixit
 


I agree completely. Starting with pretty much all of Washington. I would love to have a horde of forensic accountants descend on Washington and go through the books.

I understand there has to be SOME shading of things with the military, because of black projects that have to be kept secret (what, you thought that $6,000 toilet seat was really for a toilet seat?), but having projects go 15 years behind schedule, and $700B over budget a year is so far beyond unacceptable that it's not even funny. I would love to see a complete overhaul of the appropriations side of things, with more contracts structured like the KC-46 has been.

The KC-46 (this is the third or fourth time they've tried this damn contract) is the new USAF tanker, based on the Boeing 767 (at one point it was named Frankentanker because it used three different models of 767 for various parts). The first attempt was overturned after the person at the Pentagon that signed the contract to lease KC-767s, with a buy option at the end of the contract (which would have been at new airframe prices, after paying billions over the term of the lease) and her son were hired by Boeing as executives shortly after she retired less than a year after signing the contract. All three people involved went to jail.

The second attempt awarded the contract to Boeing in a Boeing vs EADS battle, in which EADS complained, and the GAO overturned it. The third attempt awarded it to EADS, in which Boeing complained and the GAO overturned it. The final attempt turned the "competition" into a mockery that weighed the whole thing so heavily in Boeing's favor it wasn't funny, however EADS chose not to protest and allow the new airframe to be built. (I think there were three attempts, it might have been two, but you get the idea.)

Under the current terms of the contract, Boeing is producing the first 18 of 179 aircraft, to enter service in 2017, for a fixed contract of $4.9B. The program is currently $300M over budget, of which Boeing will be required to pay $300M of that. The contract for the 18 aircraft states that the price can not exceed $4.9B, and anything over that amount will be paid by Boeing to whatever requires the extra money. There's a small amount of wiggle room involved, but nowhere near what previous contracts allowed for. Previously, unless a contract went something like 25 or 50% over budget, it wouldn't trigger an automatic review by the Pentagon and Congress.



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