Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Other Spending_Pentagon

Does the U.S. Spend More on Its Military Than the Next 10 Countries Combined?

Nov 11, 2015 | Other Spending

During last night’s debate in an exchange between Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio on defense spending, Paul claimed that “we spend more on our military than the next ten countries combined.”

This statement was true as recently as 2012, so Paul's data is a little out of date, but the current numbers still come close to supporting his point. Data are most recently available for 2014, which shows U.S. military spending in that year exceeding the next seven countries combined: China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the United Kingdom, India, and Germany.

The Peterson Foundation, using data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, produced the following chart:

The international trend since 2011 is decreasing military spending by the United States, as operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down, while other countries, particular China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, have been spending more.

Senator Paul’s claim that U.S. military spending is more than the next 10 countries combined is a little out of date, with the real number actually being seven, but on its merits, the claim is mostly true.

Ruling: Largely True