Will the US Military Go on a Spending Spree Due to the War in Ukraine?

Russia's invasion of Ukraine and arms race with China are likely to boost the US military spending – but not as much as you may think.
us military

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has gone from a blitzkrieg offensive aimed at taking Kyiv to a bloody war all around the country. The Ukrainian defense is surprising the world as the difference in resources between the two military forces is abysmal.

The war put almost all military powers in the world on alert, especially the US military and they are increasing their defense budget in case they need to protect their borders… But, the United States heads the list of countries that spend the most on defense.

The US allocates a staggering $728,5 billion per year – and it accounts for 39% of the world’s military spending.

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So, will military spending increase in the US? Will taxes be raised to support the war? Would it be necessary to further increase this massive defense budget?

Global military spending is rising fast

US military spending
M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank by Spc. Shameka. Public Domain.

The countless missiles, drones, and munitions shipped by the U.S. to Ukraine aren’t filling the pockets of U.S. weapon manufacturers right now… but it will benefit them in the long run, with Western countries anxious to reinforce their defenses against Russia.

So, many countries, especially in Europe, will make tremendous investments in the long term desperately upgrading their military equipment.

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However, US military spending is already the highest in the world by far. Its closest competitor is China, and it’s not even close as it only invests a third of the total amount of what the US spends.

In fact, the US military spending for 2022 is around $728.5 billion while China spends $252 billion – and the US military spending could exceed $800 billion by 2023.

And even if $800 billion seems like an incomprehensible amount of money to the average individual, it’s a relatively small increase considering today’s global geopolitical landscape.

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Additionally, the internal problems that the United States has had in the last few years such as political crises, inflation, the Covid-19 pandemic, and gas prices; make it unrealistic to increase the defense budget to a large extent.

Russia doesn’t seem to be a significant threat to the US

Special operations forces of the Russian Federation
Special operations forces of the Russian Federation by Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. Licensed under CC 4.0

The war in Ukraine will certainly have an immediate effect on the US military spending, but the Russian threat is not as serious as it seemed, and it won’t force the US to increase the budget significantly.

Given the relative weakness that Russia has demonstrated, the U.S. defense budget shouldn’t vary too much.

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Russia has lost at least 1,011 tanks armored vehicles, and artillery assets. Moreover, it has suffered heavy casualties, and it is clear that the U.S. could beat the Russian Armed Forces.

For this reason, the US is more focused on reinforcing its NATO allies with more F-35s, particularly those in Europe, which would build a large military border to prevent Russia’s advances in the event of a continuing conflict.

China could cause the US military spending to rise

Hypersonic Scramjet
Hypersonic Scramjet by Travis Burcham. Public Domain.

Most of the budget will probably be spent on maintaining the creation of the F-35 aircraft project, Ford Class aircraft carriers, and the development of hypersonic missiles and hypersonic technology to be incorporated into future aircraft.

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These measures are aimed at competing with China, not rivaling the less competitive Russian weapons that aren’t that effective anyway.

Spending on nuclear weapons hasn’t been a priority for the US military

intercontinental ballistic missiles are positioned in a static display at the 2f8cdc
the LGM-118A Peacekeeper, LGM-30G Minuteman III, and LGM-30F Minuteman II by the US National Archive. Public domain.

Russia’s greatest threat is undoubtedly its nuclear power, and the United States has not invested in nuclear weapons for decades.

Obviously, their deployment in combat is highly unlikely and they would only be a last resort.

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The U.S. considers that intercontinental ballistic missiles such as the Minuteman-III and Trident II are more than enough to be a nuclear deterrent, while it is developing hypersonic missiles with ramjet technology too.

The Russian attack in Ukraine shouldn’t affect Pentagon’s budget too much

Although there were many expectations about how the war would unfold, it has already been seen that Russia doesn’t have such a huge military capabilities as previously thought , and part of its strength was more propaganda than real facts.

That’s why the US military spending will increase but not too much as there’s no real threat that would cause the U.S. to nervously invest in the development of new weapons to face Russia’s presumed power.

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Feature image credit: US Fleet Activities Sasebo by U.S. Navy. Public Domain.