Only China and Russia have bigger military budget.
By Global India Newswire
WASHINGTON, DC: The revelation last week by the Guardian and the Washington Post that the U.S. government has been running an unprecedented electronic data-gathering enterprise once again puts the spotlight on America’s intelligence community.
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The United States runs by far the most extensive spying network in the world. As many as 17 agencies and organizations, ranging from Air Force Intelligence and CIA to the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, oversee the U.S. intelligence-gathering operations.
The combined budget of the U.S. National Intelligence Program and Military Intelligence Program for the fiscal year 2014 is $74.4 billion, according to the Federation of American Scientists, a Washington-based nonprofit that studies “security issues connected to applied science and technology.”
The National Intelligence Program funds intelligence activities in six federal departments and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, according to FAS.
To put the U.S. intelligence budget in context, it exceeds the annual defense spending of all other countries except two—China and Russia. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China spent $166 billion and Russia $90.7 billion on defense in 2012, the last year for which complete figures are available.
Two other global powers, Britain and France, spent $60.8 billion and $58.9 billion, respectively.
India’s 2012 military budget of $46.1 billion was roughly two- thirds of the intelligence budget of the United States.
The U.S. intelligence budget has increased 250 percent since 9/11, according to the Washington Post, which ran an investigative series on the growth of the country’s intelligence operations in 2010.
“The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work,” Post reporters Dana Priest and William M. Arkin wrote in the introduction to the series.