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Defense spending decreased in 2021 and was 12% lower than its 2010 peak.

The largest portion (about 32%) compensated military and civilian personnel. 


In 2021, there were 1.3 million people in the military, 38% fewer than in 1987 — its recent peak.

The military's size has stayed consistent over the last 20 years, growing or shrinking 3% or less in any year during that time


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

There were 174,711 permanently assigned active-duty troops in foreign nations in 2021. Thirty-two percent of troops abroad were in Japan and 20% were in Germany. Forthcoming data from the Defense Manpower Data Center will not capture recent troop movements in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine as they stopped reporting on personnel that are on temporary duty or are deployed to support contingency operations in 2017.


The US spent $51.1 billion on foreign aid in 2020, a 4.7% increase following four consecutive years of decline.

Foreign aid makes up 1% of the federal budget and more than three-quarters of aid is economic assistance. Foreign aid to Ukraine in 2020 was about $680 million, 42% of which was military aid.


Veterans have lower unemployment levels than the national rate.

They also have lower rates of poverty and higher rates of disability.​

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