Defense and National Security

About one-sixth of federal spending goes to national defense. CBO estimates the budgetary effects of legislation related to national security and assesses the cost-effectiveness of current and proposed defense programs. CBO also analyzes federal programs and issues related to veterans.

  • Report January 14, 2016

    The Department of Defense’s five-year plan calls for budgets averaging $534 billion (in 2016 dollars) from 2016 through 2020, but they would average $565 billion per year from 2021 through 2030 under the department’s cost assumptions.

  • Report December 2, 2015

    The Defense Department could cut federal costs by replacing some military personnel in support positions with civilian employees. If DoD replaced 80,000 military personnel, it could eventually save $3.1 billion to $5.7 billion annually.

  • Report October 29, 2015

    CBO estimates that the cost of the Navy’s 2016 shipbuilding plan—an average of about $20 billion per year (adjusted for inflation) over 30 years—would be $4 billion higher than the funding that the Navy has received in recent decades.

  • Report March 13, 2015

    The Navy can sustain its forward presence under smaller shipbuilding budgets by using longer deployments, more overseas basing, and more rotating crews. But those methods would offset some of the savings and have other disadvantages.

  • Report January 22, 2015

    CBO estimates the Administration’s plans for nuclear forces would cost $348 billion over the next decade, close to last year’s estimate. However, projected costs for both the Departments of Defense and Energy have changed somewhat.

  • Report November 20, 2014

    The Department of Defense's base budget increased by 31 percent (adjusted for inflation) between 2000 and 2014, mainly because of higher costs for military personnel and operation and maintenance.

  • Report August 7, 2014

    From 2000 to 2013, the number of veterans receiving VA disability payments rose by nearly 55 percent, and spending for those benefits almost tripled. How might changes in VA's disability compensation program affect the federal budget?

  • Report January 16, 2014

    Between 2000 and 2012, the cost of providing health care to service members, retirees, and their families increased by 130 percent (after adjusting for inflation). What approaches might curtail the growth in those costs?

  • Report March 18, 2013

    The costs of the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) budget plans through 2021 would be much higher than the funding permitted under the Budget Control Act’s statutory caps. CBO examined four options to cut back on DoD’s forces and activities.

  • Report November 14, 2012

    For fiscal year 2013, the Department of Defense (DoD) requested about $150 billion to fund the pay and benefits of current and retired members of the military. That amount is more than one-quarter of DoD’s total base budget request.