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The United States spends more on national defense than China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Australia — combined. While the chart above illustrates last year’s defense spending in dollar terms, the United States has also historically devoted a larger share of its economy to defense than many of its key allies.
Defense spending accounts for more than 10 percent of all federal spending and nearly half of discretionary spending. Total discretionary spending — for both defense and nondefense purposes — is typically only about one-third of the annual federal budget. It is currently below its historical average as a share of GDP and is projected to decline further.
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The PGPF chart pack illustrates that budget-making involves many competing priorities, limited resources, and complex issues. In this set of charts, we aim to frame the financial condition and fiscal outlook of the U.S. government within a broad economic, political, and demographic context.