Real Defense Department Spending Up 54 Percent in 10 Years

By Terence P. Jeffrey | February 26, 2013 | 10:16am EST

President Barack Obama flanked by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other military leaders. (AP Photo/Haraz Ghanbari)

( - Over the past ten fiscal years, inflation-adjusted Defense Department spending has increased by approximately 54 percent, according to Treasury Department data.

Real Defense Department spending increased not only under President George W. Bush--in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and during the simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan--but also under President Barack Obama a decade after the Sept. 11 attacks and after the Iraq war had ended.

In fiscal 2002, which started on Oct. 1, 2001--three weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks—Defense Department spending was $423,856,810,000 in constant 2012 dollars. Ten years later, in fiscal 2012, Defense Department spending was $650,869,000,000 in 2012 dollars.

Thus, from fiscal 2002 to fiscal 2012, Defense Department spending increased by $227,012,190,000 in constant 2012 dollars—or by 53.558 percent.

In fiscal 2008, the last full fiscal year before President Obama took office, Defense Department spending was $634,152,610,000 in constant 2012 dollars. In fiscal 2012, it was $650,869,000,000—an increase of $16,716,390,000. That is a real increase of 2.568 percent.

(The Defense Department spending numbers cited in this article were taken from the U.S. Treasury Department's Monthly Treasury Statements and adjusted to 2012 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics online inflation calculator.)

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