State of the Facts
In 2020, the US sent $11.6 billion in military aid to 157 different countries, according to United States Agency for International Development and State Department data. The contributions amounted to less than 2% of the $683 billion spent that year on national defense. It was the lowest amount the US gave in military aid since 2004.
Along with economic assistance, military aid is one of the two primary categories of foreign aid spending. In 2020, the US spent $51.1 billion in foreign aid, which makes up 1% of the federal budget. Military aid accounted for 23% of foreign aid spending in 2020.
Examples of military aid include funds for training or paying a country’s military, as well as sending weapons, vehicles, and other military equipment.
Due to reporting constraints, data on military aid can exclude some Defense Department spending. This includes missile defense funding for Israel or US military assistance that’s classified for national security reasons.
Adjusted for inflation, the US government has given other nations nearly $1 trillion in military aid since 1947.
Afghanistan accounted for a third of the inflation-adjusted $287.6 billion in US military aid between the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and fiscal year 2020. The Central Asian country received the most military aid each year between 2008 and 2019. Israel overtook Afghanistan as the top recipient of US military aid in 2020.
With the 2021 US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, how much the US spends on military aid and who receives that aid is likely to change. Since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, Ukraine received $1.7 billion in US military aid. After Russia invaded Ukraine a second time in February 2022, the US committed $3.7 billion in military aid to Ukraine. In late April 2022, President Joe Biden requested Congressional approval of an additional $15 billion in military spending primarily for Ukraine and the surrounding countries affected by the war.
Read more about the war in Ukraine through US government data.
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