2023 was a year marked by devastating conflicts from Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine to Hamas’s horrific terror attacks on Israel, from that country’s indiscriminate mass slaughter in Gaza to a devastating civil war in Sudan. And there’s a distinct risk of even worse to come this year. Still, there was one clear winner in this avalanche of violence, suffering, and war: the U.S. military-industrial complex.
In December, President Biden signed a record authorization of $886 billion in “national defense” spending for 2024, including funds for the Pentagon proper and work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy. Add to that tens of billions of dollars more in likely emergency military aid for Ukraine and Israel, and such spending could well top $900 billion for the first time this year.
Meanwhile, the administration’s $100-billion-plus emergency military aid package that failed to pass Congress last month is likely to slip by in some form this year, while the House and Senate are almost guaranteed to add tens of billions more for “national defense” projects in specific states and districts, as happened in two of the last three years.
Of course, before the money actually starts flowing, Congress needs to pass an appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2024, clearing the way for that money to be spent. As of this writing, the House and Senate had indeed agreed to a tentative deal to sign onto the $886 billion that was authorized in December. A trillion-dollar version of such funding could be just around the corner. (If past practice is any guide, more than half of that sum could go directly to corporations, large and small.)