Defense Budget

Spending for the Department of Defense (DoD) accounts for nearly all of the nation’s defense budget. The funding provided to DoD covers its base budget—which pays for the department’s normal activities—and its contingency operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas. CBO analyzes the possible consequences of planned reductions in funding for the military’s force structure and acquisitions. The agency also studies the budgetary implications of DoD’s plans, including those for military personnel, weapon systems, and operations.

  • Report

    CBO estimates that the total cost to eliminate the deferred maintenance backlog for buildings in use on Army bases in the United States, and to renovate and modernize the Army’s buildings, would be $54 billion (measured in 2020 dollars).

  • Report

    Under the three alternatives in the Navy’s 2023 plan, total shipbuilding costs would average about $30 billion to $33 billion per year (in 2022 dollars) through 2052, CBO estimates, as the Navy built a fleet of 316 to 367 battle force ships.

  • Report

    CBO examines how the discretionary spending proposals in the President's 2023 budget compare with CBO’s most recent baseline budget projections, which span 2022 to 2032.

  • Interactive

    This tool allows the user to see the effects on the Department of Defense’s total operation and support costs and on the size of the military of adding or subtracting tanks, ships, aircraft, and other units.

  • Report

    CBO analyzes DoD’s plans for 2022 as presented in the Biden Administration’s 2022 budget request and projects how those plans would affect defense costs through 2031. Those costs would increase by 10 percent over that period, CBO projects.

  • Report

    CBO examined three broad options for reconfiguring the military if funding for the Department of Defense was reduced by $1 trillion (in 2022 dollars), or 14 percent, over the next 10 years.

  • Report

    The military services use unmanned aerial systems (UASs) differently than manned aircraft. UASs generally have lower recurring costs per flying hour, but their cost advantage may be smaller when the cost of acquiring the aircraft is considered.

  • Report

    CBO estimates that plans for U.S. nuclear forces, as described in the fiscal year 2021 budget and supporting documents, would cost $634 billion over the 2021–2030 period, $140 billion more than CBO’s 2019 estimate for the 2019–2028 period.

  • Report

    This update of CBO’s 2016 primer on the structure of the U.S. military describes the size, functions, and operation and support costs of every major element of the armed forces.

  • Report

    This report provides CBO’s projections of the Army’s costs to acquire tanks and other ground combat vehicles through 2050. On the basis of the Army’s plans, those costs are projected to average about $5 billion annually.

  • Report

    The Navy’s shipyards have experienced significant delays in completing maintenance on submarines. In this report, CBO projects that required maintenance will continue to exceed the shipyards’ capacity and examines options to reduce delays.

  • Report

    CBO examined the threat that adversaries equipped with land-attack cruise missiles might pose to the U.S. homeland and estimated the costs of several defensive systems that could be fielded to protect the United States from such attacks.

  • Report

    CBO estimated the costs of the recommendations of the 2019 Missile Defense Review, including early initiatives implemented before the report was released and expansions of missile defenses that could result from report’s directives.

  • Report

    By CBO’s calculations, the Navy’s new frigate could cost 40 percent more than the service estimates. If the Navy’s estimate proves correct, however, the frigate would be its least expensive surface combatant in the past 50 years.

  • Report

    Summarizing three reports about the aviation fleets of the U.S. Air Force, Army, and the Department of the Navy, CBO projects the number and costs of aircraft the Department of Defense would need to procure to maintain the fleets’ current size through 2050.

  • Report

    In 2016, the military services allocated $25 billion to base operations support (BOS). CBO explores characteristics of bases and the mission of the units they serve, analyzing the relationship between those characteristics and BOS costs.

  • Report

    CBO estimates that the Navy’s plan to modernize and operate its sealift ships over the next 30 years would cost roughly $39 billion. In this report, CBO explores four alternatives that would vary in cost from $34 billion to $40 billion.

  • Report

    CBO regularly analyzes the Navy’s shipbuilding programs and produces its own estimates of the costs of new ships. CBO’s method relies on historical experience, with adjustments for rate, learning, acquisition strategy, and economic factors.