Does the U.S. military have the means to spend a lot more than the allotted budget for the military or not?

A black budget or covert appropriation is a government budget that is allocated for classified or other secret operations of a nation. The black budget is an account expenses and spending related to military research and covert operations. The black budget is mostly classified because of security reasons. The black budget can be complicated to calculate, but in the United States it has been estimated to be over US$50 billion a year, taking up nearly 10 percent of the US$700 billion American defense budget.[1]


Now, 10 percent isn't much and makes me think that the black budget isn't used to hide how much the military is spending, but on what it is spending. Now, the question is whether the military or the government has a mean to hide a much higher figure like $300 billion, which would be roughly half without anyone noticing. Is the U.S. government spending and budgeting scheme allow for such spending to be unnoticed by the public?

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    The DoD's books are such a mess that I don't think anyone really knows the answer to this question, not even the Joint Chiefs or the Secretary of Defense.
    – Kevin
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 1:53

1 Answer 1


#1 To address your title, a mission like Iraq or Afghanistan was run with an extra appropriations budget. For 2007 so that's off the regular books, but still scrutinized.

In all, H.R. 2206/P.L. 110-28 provides $99.4 billion for the Department of defense, of which $94.7 billion is for military operations, $1.6 billion for military construction, and $3.1 billion for military base realignment and closure. The bill also provides $6.1 billion for international affairs, including assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan

#2 to address the body, i.e. what can we do with it? $50B not much? That's 20% of China's budget and almost the size of Russia's. Many Defense Ministers would kill to get it.

Put differently as well, even the most super-duper weapons need people to operate them, frequent drills and a certain number of units to make a difference. You can't operate a division of 200 "M3 8th generation battle tanks" without people noticing. So the black budget doesn't go towards those things, it goes towards lower volume semi-experimental special weapons. Like maybe the F117 which was only rumored about until it was used. Or the stealthed helicopters used on the Osama Bin Laden raid. 50B$ buys plenty of that kind of things.

Plus, if it's really black, then the pork doesn't have to be as widely spread as the F35, so maybe $50B buys you more.

Lockheed Martin serves as the prime contractor with a global supply chain of more than 1,900 companies based in the United States and in every nation acquiring the F-35.

Equally impressive to the program's job creation prowess is the sheer size of its economic footprint. The Lockheed Martin F-35 program teams with nearly 1,800 domestic suppliers in 45 states and Puerto Rico

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