U.S. Security Spending Since 9/11

Last week NPP published "U.S. Security Spending Since 9/11," an analysis of total federal spending on defense and homeland security since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The key findings of the report were:

  • The United States has spent more than $7.6 trillion on defense and homeland security since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

  • Total homeland security spending since September 11, 2001 is $635.9 billion.

The "homeland security" figure is of particular interest because unlike other types of government funding – Pentagon spending, for instance – funding for homeland security isn't tracked or documented as fully. This is because homeland security funding flows through literally dozens of federal agencies and not just through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). For example, of the $71.6 billion requested for “homeland security” in FY2012, only $37 billion is funded through DHS. A substantial part is funded through the Department of Defense – $18.1 billion in FY2012 – and others, including Health and Human Services ($4.6 billion) and the Department of Justice ($4.1 billion).

Because tracking homeland security funding is so difficult, starting back in FY2003 OMB began looking across the entire budget and providing summary tables of the annual request by agency. This analysis does not, however, provide historical data nor any cumulative funding figures. By going back and reviewing each annual request, however, NPP has been able to determine total government homeland security funding since the September 11 attacks.

Funding for homeland security has risen from $16 billion in FY2001 to $71.6 billion requested for FY2012. Adjusted for inflation, the United States has spent $635.9 billion on homeland security since FY2001. Of this $163.8 billion has been funded within the Pentagon’s annual budget. The remaining $472.1 billion has been funded through other federal agencies. For full details of the FY2012 homeland security request, see the “Homeland Security Mission Funding by Agency and Budget Account” appendix to the FY2012 budget.