Military spending today swallows up nearly two-thirds of discretionary government spending in the United States. Human beings here and abroad suffer while war profiteers and dictators grow rich.

  • America commands a larger military than the world’s next 8 largest militaries combined and 5 of them are our allies. 
  • In 2019, Congress allocated $713 billion for defense. Roughly half of this money goes to private weapons contractors such as Raytheon, Boeing, and General Dynamic. The CEOs of our five largest weapons manufacturers make over $9 million a year, mostly funded through taxpayer dollars.
  • Our defense budget provides the Pentagon with the resources to garrison the entire planet, with 800 bases in over 150 countries, at a cost of $150 billion per year. 
  • We are also spending $1.7 trillion over the next 3 decades on our nuclear weapons modernization program. Since 9/11, America has spent $5.9 trillion and over a million lives, on wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
  • The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone have devastated a region, resulting in the violent deaths of over a million people and the displacement of 21 million people. 
  • We give military assistance to 73% of the world’s dictatorships. 
  • There are roughly 40,000 veterans living homeless on the streets of America. After serving in wars overseas, service members can often suffer from both physical and psychological wounds.

This is unconscionable and nonsensical In a nation that is also experiencing homelessness, infant mortality, skyrocketing health care and higher education costs, and crumbling infrastructure.

CAPA aims to end this war economy by mobilizing Chicago Area activists to convince lawmakers to prioritize people and planet over greed and violence.

We can secure the nation’s safety with a reduced military budget while also upholding human rights. 

CAPA believes that the U.S. needs to stop waging the unnecessary wars, including proxy wars such as its support for the Saudi war in Yemen, that it has fought in this century. 

It is long past time to eliminate excess Pentagon spending and invest the savings in urgent domestic and human needs priorities – environmental protection, education, infrastructure, health care and more – that will make the U.S. stronger and more just.

CAPA is an endorsing organization of the Back from the Brink: the Call to Prevent Nuclear War campaign.

Email the CAPA Foreign Policy Working Group chair Marcia Bernsten at if you’d like to participate in our monthly call (usually the last Tuesday of the month) or be added to our distribution list.