We Must Stop Showering the Military With Money

The Components of U.S. Military Spending

If you really want to get a handle on what the United States spends on defense, you need to look at multiple components.

The $715 billion base budget for the Department of Defense is the main contributor to the defense budget, but there are a number of other agencies that protect our nation as well, and much of their spending is devoted to the military effort. They include the Department of Veterans Affairs ($113.1 billion). Funding for the VA has been increased by nearly $30 billion over 2018 levels. That's to fund the VA MISSION Act and the VA's healthcare system. The other agencies are: Homeland Security ($54.9 billion), the State Department ($63.6 billion), and the FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice ($10.3 billion).


Chowing Down

In basic training, you receive three meals per day. Most of the time, these are hot meals served in the chow hall (called the dining facility in the Air Force and Army, and the galley or mess hall in the Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard).

Warning: Chow hall meals in basic training are not slow, leisurely events. You have a limited amount of time (about 15 minutes) to sit down and consume your meal. Even though the chow hall serves them, recruits are not allowed sweets or even sodas in some of the branches.

After basic training, you’ll enjoy your meals in the chow hall much, much more. Most military chow halls today include an extensive salad bar, a station for full meals such as fried chicken, seafood, Mexican food and pastas, along with a snack line that includes hamburgers, hot dogs, chili, fries and other junk-food items. Plus, you’re allowed to consume sodas and dessert!

The chow halls in basic training are limited. You usually have a salad bar, but the snack line is generally off limits to recruits. If you don’t like the choices offered in the full meal line, that’s just tough. It’s that or go hungry. The basic training chow hall food will be reminiscent of the choices offered at a high school cafeteria — not very appetizing.

One thing has changed for the positive in military basic training chow halls from days past. In the old days, the rule in the chow hall was that you had to eat everything on your plate. That rule no longer exists. You no longer have to eat everything you take if you don’t feel like it. Basic training is all about getting into shape, not stuffing your mouth with food you don’t really want.

Tip: No matter what, time in the chow hall isn’t social hour. Do not look around or make any conversation with others.

From Basic Training for Dummies, copyright © 2011 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Last year was another banner one for the military-industrial complex, as Congress signed off on a near-record $778 billion in spending for the Pentagon and related work on nuclear warheads at the Department of Energy. That was $25 billion more than the Pentagon had even asked for. It can’t be emphasized enough just how much public money is now […]

Why is the U.S. military budget so high?

The president and Congress work together to set the military budget. If the president and lawmakers in Congress wanted to reduce the budget, they could cut it.