There are lots of ways one might answer “what does the government spend on protecting the United States?” But to true budget watchers there is only one answer – it’s the “National Defense” portion of the annual budget, also referred to as “Function 050” (Pronounced “Oh-Five-Oh”; for more information on this budget function, see the TCS “Topline” Fact Sheet).
The federal budget is divided up into dozens of Functions and Subfunctions which refer to specific areas of the federal government’s activities including “National Defense,” “Agriculture” and “Health.” Each activity has its own Function or Subfunction number. The “National Defense” Function is divided up into three parts:
Subfunction 051: “Department of Defense-Military” which is the Pentagon’s annual “base” budget plus any funds allocated for “Overseas Contingency Operations” (OCO).
Subfunction 053: “Atomic Energy Defense Activities” which funds the nuclear weapons-related activities of the Department of Energy.
Subfunction 054: “Defense-related Activities” which accounts for any Defense-related activities of other federal agencies.
As the chart shows, at roughly $705 billion in the FY21 request, the Pentagon portion (051) makes up the lion’s share of the “National Defense” Function (about 95 percent). At about $26 billion, nuclear weapons (053), although nothing to sneeze at, comes in a distant second, while “other” (054) rounds out the field at about $9 billion. Add all those up and the total FY21 request for “National Defense” is $740.5 billion.