Coffee Break

Can Military Spending Ever Be Justified?

Military spending is one of the biggest debates regarding public spending that always crops up at the time of governmental budgets and elections. In 2017 the UK defence spending budget (including foreign aid) is a massive £45.6 billion. This sounds like and is a huge sum, but still falls well short of the $598.5 billion that the USA spent on its military in 2015. These figures instantly suggest that the money could be better spent elsewhere, yet there are a few common reasons put up in their defence.


Part of those billions are directly put towards the salaries of military workers, from those in the army to others in office and military positions. It also indirectly goes towards creating and keeping jobs in further sectors, such as those who work in the production of military equipment, from weapons and ammunition to military clothing, food supplies and more. While this can be seen as some sort of justification, it can be argued that the money could be spent employing people elsewhere, like hiring and training hundreds of new nurses, doctors and other professionals.

Constant Threats

Even some of the most pacifist people can often be heard in support of having an army, but only as a deterrent and one that is not used. Since the dawn of time there have always been wars and such tensions still exist today. There are fears that without an army and military spending that the UK would be at risk of being overtaken, should threats such as nuclear weapons, North Korea and ISIS continue to persist.

Rise of Future Dangers

In the last few years there has been a right-wing rise, best demonstrated by the recent election of Donald Trump and Brexit. Such strong nationalism is always a danger, especially when both those votes were won by small margins. As weapons advance too, there is always the risk of future tensions emerging and war erupting. Therefore, it can be argued that military spending is necessary as a defence mechanism, just as a police force are.


Technology has advanced great steps in many areas and some of it can be accounted for because of military spending. However, some may claim that it only because so much money has been invested in it, whereas it would have been better invested in technology not designed to harm people.

There are points for and against such massive amounts of military spending, justifying it in certain circumstances but bringing it into question elsewhere.