The defense budget accounts for the largest portion of U.S. budget discretionary spending. The U.S. government budget in fiscal year 2022 was estimated at $5.8 trillion, most of which was intended for mandatory benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The rest of the budget was intended for discretionary spending, with about half, or some $700 billion, for defense. The defense budget request for FY2023 stands at $773 billion.
About 95% of the defense budget spending is for operations and maintenance; military personnel; procurement of weapons; and research, development, testing, and evaluation. The Department of Defense then contracts companies to perform many of these activities.
For example, the military provides health insurance for its personnel, and health insurance company Humana was the winner of an over $30 billion contract with the DOD. Pfizer and Moderna, too, secured Defense Health Agency contracts worth $11 billion and $8 billion, respectively, to supply the military with COVID-19 vaccines.
Other companies often do business with a specific military branch to supply weapons, perform maintenance, or provide R&D services. General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Company secured a $20 billion contract from the Department of the Navy for construction of nine Virginia-class submarines, eight with Virginia Payload Module missile tubes that will provide undersea strike capacity. (Here are the U.S. Navy’s newest ships and submarines.)
Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin’s contract, also with the Department of the Navy, for the manufacturing of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters remains the Pentagon’s costliest program ever, at $398 billion, according to Bloomberg. And it continues to expand, with a preliminary agreement reached in July for several hundred F-35 jets estimated to be worth about $30 billion. That is in addition to existing F-35 contracts, like the recently modified $35 billion one. (Here is every plane in the U.S. military.)
To find the top DOD contracts in fiscal year 2022, which ended on Sept. 30, 2022, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from USASpending.gov. We included only the highest contract for each unique entity identifier. Some corporations have several UEIs. Some of the contracts were awarded in previous years, but because they were modified in 2022, they are included on the list.
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