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Defense spending increased in 2020 but was 11% lower than its 2010 peak.

The largest portion (about 40%) compensated military and civilian personnel. 


The military is the largest it has been since 2012 but is still smaller than it was in 1980.

The military is 35% smaller than it was during its recent peak in 1987.


The US has fewer troops abroad, particularly in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

There were 168,766 active duty troops deployed in foreign nations in 2020, down 21% from 2016 and 58% from 2008, primarily due to troop withdrawals.


Nearly 84,000 National Guard soldiers were on duty on June 2, equal to half the number of active-duty troops abroad and one-fifth of available National Guard members.

The data is limited, but on this day more than 37,400 troops were part of pandemic response efforts and more than 41,500 were responding to civil unrest. This broke the recent record of 51,000 activated guard members who responded to Hurricane Katrina.


Foreign aid (adjusted for inflation) has declined each year since 2015, and makes up less than 1% of the federal budget.

More than a quarter of aid is military assistance.


Veterans have higher levels of employment, lower rates of poverty, and higher rates of disability than the overall population.

There were more than 17 million veterans in the US in 2019, comprising 5.3% of the population.

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