U.S. Defense Budget for 2022

The U.S. Defense budget was signed into law on Monday. A few things that caught my attention:

  1. Increase of 5% (I guess we have to replace all that equipment left behind in Afghanistan).
  2. 2.7% pay raise (which I gather makes up around 2% or so of that 5% increase).
  3. Seems to be focused on keeping “pace militarily with China and Russia.”
  4. “The bill includes $7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and a statement of congressional support for the defense of Taiwan, measures intended to counteract China’s influence in the region.”
  5. “It also includes $300 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, a show of support in the face of Russian aggression, as well as $4 billion for the European Defense Initiative.”

Let’s look at what keeping “pace militarily with China and Russia” looks like in dollars and sense:

U.S. Budget: $768.2 billion (2022) or 3.42% of GDP in 2019.

Chinese (PRC) Defense Budget: $209.4 billion (2021) or 1.3% of GDP (2021)

Russian Defense Budget: 61.7 billion (2020-21) or 4.3% of GDP (2019).


See: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/biden-signs-bill-authorizing-768-2-billion-in-2022-defense-spending-including-a-2-7-pay-raise-for-service-members-into-law-01640648957?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

Articles: 1516


      • Based off SIPRI estimates (upper estimate being north of 1.8 trillion yuan) and observing the annual change in military expenditures to expenditures as a share of gross domestic product, or a comparison of expenditures (historical, time series, in this case the Cold War) as a function of world presence or conflict intensity, adjusted for upkeep of asset to troop ratio. Assessing the true size of forces is problematic but desirable. Non-transparent systems offer little insight, but in the Russian case there are probably 300-400,000 paramilitary forces not officially recorded.
        Good indicators are also budget cuts, for instance in the medical sector/health care or on education, in favour of the military or space program.
        More “transparent” Russian gazettes can also offer hints on the true extent of expenditures (e.g. Kommersant). Steel allocations, procurement, and shifts in outlay capacity are of particular interest, since they are a giveaway for military planning. To this has to be added that nations like China possess the ability to draw additional “labour” from concentration camps.
        My estimate on China may be a bit too high, but it is definitely in the range of 2%, if not higher. The Russian figure is probably closer to the truth, whether they are going to have the stamina to continue operations in Syria, Africa and Ukraine will heavily depend on how much gas they will be able to sell to their neighbours.
        I cannot make any statements on India.

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