United States of America

The United States remains by far the world’s largest military spender, despite a decrease in spending of about 2.5% in 2015. More specifically, the DoD’s budget was reduced to US $560.4 billion; $495.6 billion of which comprise the base discretionary budget –reduced by almost $100 million (in 2014)-, $6.2 billion is the mandatory funding –increased by $444 million- and a supplementary funding of $58.6 billion, allocated for OCO.

After the end of the Cold War, the US Aerospace and Defence (A&D) Industry was ‘regenerated’ as a result of a series of mergers of small companies into larger primer contractors, independent from other business sectors. Since then, the US A&D industry has demonstrated a tremendous growth. Despite the overall size and impact of the related industry to the US economy, the employment rate in the sector has followed a downward trend since 2012, reaching the 1.23 million directly employed people in 2014. Within this context, the last few years, the industry is confronted by a shortage of scientifically and technologically trained workers, essential for the further development of the sector. In addition, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the budget cuts caused by the BCA (2011), have forced plant closures and layoffs within the defence subsector. Companies such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Boeing are accelerating their efforts to expand in Asia, the Middle East and Vietnam, in an attempt to defend their interests.

Globally, the volume of international transfers of major weapons, grew by 16% over the period 2010–14, when compared to that of the period 2005–2009. The five largest suppliers of such arms over the period 2010–14, in decreasing order, were the United States, Russia, China, Germany and France, accounting for  some 74% of the global volume of arms exports over the period. More specifically, in 2014, US companies were responsible for more than 50% of global arms sales, amounting to $218 billion.

In fact, again in 2014, as has been the case since 2009, Lockheed Martin ranked first globally with an arms sales’ turnover of $37.5 billion. Boeing followed with $28.3 billion of arms sales and 4th worldwide was Raytheon with $21.4 billion.

US Top arms-producing & military services  Companies

Total sales, 2014

(US $ bn)

Arm sales %, 2014

Total Employment (approx.), 2014

Lockheed Martin












Northrop Grumman




General Dynamics




United Technologies Corp




L-3 Communications




BAE Systems Inc. (BAE Systems UK)




Huntington Ingalls Industries




Source: http://books.sipri.org

According to the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) – the trade association representing US entities supplying civil, military, and business aircraft and other aerial vehicles -, US civil (aerospace) exports, compose the majority of US Aerospace exports. These almost doubled during the last five years (2010-2015). On the other hand, US military (aerospace) exports over the same period, have slightly increased in real terms, due to reasons analysed above (see Chart 10). More specifically, in 2015, US military exports included: Complete Aircraft -Fighters and Bombers, Transport Aircraft, Helicopters, Used & Rebuild Aircraft -$3.7 billion; Aircraft engines (piston, turbine) -$0.7 billion; Aircraft & Engine parts - $0.7 billion; Missiles, Rockets and parts -$2.7 billion, and finally; Spacecraft, Satellites and parts - $0.7 billion.

Since 2012, military budgets have been reduced by almost US $1 trillion. DOD’s projections for procurement, research and development, reflect cuts by more than $86 billion, for the 2016-2019 timeframe. Considering the downsize of the sector and for the viable, future development and preservation of US competitiveness, additional relief –to the Bipartisan Budget Act (2013)- from the BCA caps, quicker FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certification procedures, as well as broadening of the US global market share, seem imperative.