Countries received the most US military aids. Photo: knowinsiders.
Countries received the most US military aids. Photo: knowinsiders.

What are countries received the most US military aids?

Along with economic assistance, military aid is one of the two primary categories of foreign aid spending. Examples of military aid include funds for training or paying a country’s military, as well as sending weapons, vehicles, and other military equipment.

Due to reporting constraints, data on military aid can exclude some Defense Department spending. This includes missile defense funding for Israel or US military assistance that’s classified for national security reasons. Adjusted for inflation, the US government has given other nations nearly $1 trillion in military aid since 1947. We summed up top 10 countries that received the most military aids from the US as below:

1. Ukraine: $9.8 billion

2. Israel: $3.3 billion

3. Afghanistan: $2.76 billion

4. Egypt: $1.3 billion

5. Iraq: $548.1 million

6. Jordan: $504 million

7. Colombia: $272.9 million

8. Somalia: $94.1 million

9. Lebanon: $71 million

10. Tunisia: $52.4 million

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Top 10 countries received the most US military aids

1. Ukraine: $9.8 billion

The Senate voted 86 to 11 to approve roughly $40 billion in new aid to Ukraine, and on May 21, President Biden signed the package. According to npr.org, the bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month, brings U.S. spending on the war to more than $100 million per day, according to defense experts. The legislation is the latest step in a bipartisan effort to help Ukraine repel Russia's invasion without committing U.S. troops to a deadly war across the globe. Those investments have focused on sending direct military assistance, humanitarian aid and funding to help combat Russian propaganda and cybersecurity attacks.

According to vox.com, the US has sent everything from Javelin anti-tank missiles to Switchblade drones, artillery and body armor, and increasingly some high-tech equipment like laser-guided rocket systems, surveillance radar, and Mi-17 helicopters, as detailed in a recent list circulated by the Department of Defense. And it’s having a real effect on the battlefield, as Russia’s scaled-down offensive in the east sputters.

The number could be even bigger, as there’s $4 billion of foreign military financing (US taxpayer dollars to underwrite other countries’ purchase of US weapons) allocated to Ukraine and NATO allies in the congressional appropriation.

Then there’s the $8.7 billion of funds in the congressional package to replenish US stockpiles of weapons, probably backfilling much of what has been sent to Ukraine since the Russian invasion was launched in February, especially missiles. The Biden administration sent those under what’s called the drawdown authority, so that emergency weapons could reach the country as quickly as possible.

Top 10 Countries Received The Most Military Aids From The US Right Now
Servicemembers in the Ukrainian military move US-made Stinger missiles, a portable air-defense system, and other military assistance shipped from Lithuania to Kyiv on February 13, 2022. Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration has portrayed Ukraine’s resolve against Russia as a battle of freedom versus tyranny, one worth investing in. The security assistance is helping “support Ukraine’s ability to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity and to stand against Russia’s brutal and unprovoked assault,” Jessica Lewis, the State Department’s assistant secretary for political-military affairs, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

How Strong Is The Ukrainian Army - 22nd Strongest Militaries in The World

2. Israel: $3.3 billion

As everycrsreport.com reported, Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. Foreign Military Financing. For FY2020, the President's request for Israel would encompass approximately 57% of total requested FMF funding worldwide. Annual FMF grants to Israel represent approximately 18% of the overall Israeli defense budget. Israel's defense expenditure as a percentage of its Gross Domestic Product (4.3% in 2018) is one of the highest in the world.

Over the years, US aid has helped Israel develop one of the most advanced militaries in the world, with the funds allowing them to purchase sophisticated military equipment from the US.

For example, as BBC reported, Israel has purchased 50 F-35 combat aircraft, which can be used for missile attacks - 27 of the aircraft have so far been delivered, costing around $100m (£70.4m) each.

Last year Israel also bought eight KC-46A Boeing 'Pegasus' aircrafts for an estimated $2.4bn (£1.7bn). These are capable of refuelling planes such as the F-35 in mid-air.

In addition, Israel has spent millions collaborating with the US on developing military technology, such as a system to detect underground tunnels used to infiltrate Israel.

The Israeli government invests heavily in military equipment and training, using the aid to compensate for being smaller than many other regional powers.

Since World War Two, Israel has been the largest overall recipient of US foreign aid. In 2019, the most recent year to publish fully reported figures, Israel was the second highest recipient of US foreign aid after Afghanistan, according to USAID.

Why does the US give Israel so much aid?

There are a number of reasons why the US gives so much aid to Israel, including historic commitments dating back to US support for the creation of the Jewish state in 1948.

Moreover, Israel is seen by the US as a crucial ally in the Middle East - with shared goals and a mutual commitment to democratic values. The US Congressional Research Service says: "US foreign aid has been a major component in cementing and reinforcing these ties.

"US officials and many lawmakers have long considered Israel to be a vital partner in the region."

The US government's foreign assistance agency says: "US assistance helps ensure that Israel maintains its Qualitative Military Edge (QME) over potential regional threats." It also states: "US assistance... is aimed at ensuring that Israel is sufficiently secure to take the historic steps necessary to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians and for comprehensive regional peace."

3. Afghanistan: $2.76 billion

According to Sipri.org, the US government disbursed almost $73 billion in military aid to Afghanistan between 2001 and 2020, which was almost 20 times the amount of Afghanistan’s own military expenditure. Despite the USA having provided the ANDSF with equipment, training, services, funding for salaries, infrastructure and more, it took the Taliban a little over four months to take over Afghanistan and control Kabul after the announcement in April 2021 that NATO’s Resolute Support Mission would end.

After the final withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, President Biden suggested that the war in Afghanistan had most likely cost the USA more than US$2 trillion. While most of the estimated expenditure was on US military operations, the USA also devoted substantial financial resources to reconstruction activities.

Top 10 Countries Received The Most Military Aids From The US Right Now
United States troops at a training station in Herat, Afghanistan, this month. The plan would shift American operations from training to counterterrorism strikes.Credit...Jalil Rezayee/EPA, via Shutterstock

Of all the reported US security-related reconstruction spending in Afghanistan, SIPRI considers five budget lines as military aid. These come from two sources: the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of State (DOS). Between 2001 and 2020, disbursements to Afghanistan from these five funds totalled $72.7 billion in current dollars ($81.6 billion in constant 2019 dollars).

Nearly all (99.2 per cent) of this military aid came from the DOD, through the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF; $71.7 billion in current dollars) created by the US Congress, and a separate Train and Equip Fund ($440 million in current dollars). Together the two funds provided the ANDSF with equipment; supplies; services; training; funding for salaries; and facility and infrastructure repair, renovation and construction.

Military aid to Afghanistan from the DOS was under the International Military Education and Training (IMET), Foreign Military Finance (FMF) and Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) funds, and amounted to about $564 million in current dollars.

US military aid to Afghanistan was initially very low; the DOD and the DOS together spent less than $1 billion annually between 2001 and 2005. By 2008, annual aid outlays picked up to reach $7.4 billion. This uptick in aid coincided with the US becoming a significant troop contributor in multilateral peace operations, indicating increased US involvement in Afghanistan. However, the global financial and economic crisis led to a temporary decrease in aid and, by 2010, aid to Afghanistan had fallen to $5.2 billion.

The U.S. spent approximately $2 trillion in its longest war. Over 170,000 lives were lost in 20 years. However, despite massive efforts to build up the Afghan military and prop up the government, it took only a few weeks for the government to fall and the Taliban to take over the country as U.S. forces withdrew.

4. Egypt: $1.3 billion

The United States established diplomatic relations with Egypt in 1922, following Egypt’s independence from its protectorate status under the United Kingdom. The United States and Egypt share a strong partnership based on mutual interests in Middle East peace and stability, economic opportunity, and regional security. Significant cultural and educational ties and assistance further enhance the strategic partnership. The core objective of U.S policy is to promote a stable, prosperous Egypt, where the government protects the basic rights of its citizens and meets the current and future needs of its large and growing population.

U.S. assistance to Egypt has played a central role in Egypt’s economic and military development and in furthering the U.S.-Egypt strategic partnership and regional stability. Since 1978, the United States has provided Egypt with over $50 billion in military and $30 billion in economic assistance, as state.gov reported.

Following the January 30 deadline, as freedomhouse.org reported, the Biden administration decided that it will reprogram $130 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Foreign Military Financing (FMF) originally intended for the brutal government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The United States had withheld this military aid since mid-September of last year pending the Egyptian government’s fulfillment of two modest human rights conditions: ending the unjust detentions of or dropping the charges against 16 Egyptians politically targeted by al-Sisi’s government and completely closing the decade-old Case 173 targeting independent civil society.

In light of the Egyptian government’s abject failure to meet the minimal conditions specified by the administration, the undersigned organizations welcome the Biden administration’s decision to reprogram this assistance in full. Upholding the conditions on the aid signals the importance of human rights in the bilateral relationship. But by moving forward with billions of dollars’ worth of security assistance just days before the decision, the strong message that could have been sent by reprogramming assistance has been undermined.

Reprogramming the withheld funds could have built important leverage to pressure the Egyptian government to meet basic human rights standards; instead, the Biden administration spectacularly undercut its decision by announcing, just days earlier, more than $2.5 billion in arms sales to Egypt and obligating $1 billion in FY2021 FMF. Denying the ruthless government of President al-Sisi $130 million while moving forward with weapons deals and military aid worth nearly thirty times as much undermines the very purpose of reprogramming the funds. In doing so, the administration also squandered what could have been a meaningful step toward fulfilling its promise to “center” human rights in its relationship with Egypt.

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5. Iraq: $548.1 million

Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $142.3 billion (current, or noninflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance. In 2016, the U.S. and Israeli governments signed a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid, covering FY2019 to FY2028. Under the terms of the MOU, the United States pledges (pending congressional appropriation) to provide Israel $38 billion in military aid

($33 billion in Foreign Military Financing or FMF grants plus $5 billion in missile defense appropriations). This MOU replaced a previous $30 billion 10-year agreement, which ran through FY2018.

According to Congressional Research Service, Israel is the largest recipient of FMF. For FY2021, the President’s request for Israel would encompass approximately 59% of total requested FMF funding worldwide. Israel uses most FMF to finance the procurement of advanced U.S. weapons systems. In March 2020, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a planned sale to Israel of eight KC-46A Boeing “Pegasus” aircraft for an estimated $2.4 billion. According to Boeing, the KC-46A Pegasus is a multirole tanker (can carry passengers, fuel, and equipment) that can refuel all U.S. and allied military aircraft. The Israeli Air Force’s current fleet of tankers was originally procured in the 1970s, and it is anticipated that Israel will be able to use the KC-46A to refuel its F-35 fighters. Israel is the first international operator of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Department of Defense’s fifth-generation stealth aircraft considered to be the most technologically advanced fighter jet ever made. After Japan, Israel will become the second foreign user of the KC-46A.

Top 10 Countries Received The Most Military Aids From The US Right Now
Photo: rudaw.net.

The US Central Command announced that they had provided around $219 million in the first quarter of the 2022 fiscal year in aid to their allies in Iraq and Syria through the Global Coalition against Islamic State (ISIS), as rudaw.net reported.

The global coalition against ISIS was formally established in October 2014, after ISIS took control of vast swathes of territories in Iraq and Syria. Consisting of 79 nations and five international organizations, the US-led coalition’s mission has been “degrading and ensuring Daesh’s enduring defeat,” it says on its website, using the Arabic acronym for the extremist group.

The terror group was territorially defeated in 2017, but it remains a serious security threat, especially in areas where there is a security vacuum between Erbil and Baghdad.

The mission has over the years aided the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces, the Iraqi army, and their Kurdish-led Syrian ally, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The combat mission of the coalition ended in Iraq at the end of the last year but it continues in Syria. The coalition continues advising Iraqi forces and Peshmerga.

6. Jordan: $504 million

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is also one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid globally. Like Israel, the United States and Jordan have signed an MOU on foreign assistance, most recently in 2018. The MOU, the third such agreement between the United States and Jordan, commits the United States (pending congressional appropriation) to provide $1.275 billion per year in bilateral foreign assistance over a five-year period for a total of $6.375 billion (FY2018-FY2022). U.S. military assistance primarily enables the Jordanian military to procure and maintain U.S.-origin conventional weapons systems. FMF overseen by the State Department supports the Jordanian Armed Forces’ multi-year (usually five-year) procurement plans, while DODadministered security assistance supports ad hoc defense systems to respond to emerging threats.

As swfinstitute.org reported, the United States is Jordan’s single largest provider of bilateral assistance, providing more than US$ 1.5 billion in 2020, including US$ 1.082 billion appropriated by the U.S. Congress to Jordan through USAID in the 2020 fiscal year budget, and US$ 425 million in State Department Foreign Military Financing funds.

Jordan is one of the most stable and peaceful countries in the Middle East, but it’s facing deep economic challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic and the refugee crisis from the neighboring country of Syria. Jordan and Lebanon have each taken in over 1 million Syrians. “Preservation of border integrity and regional stability” are both key goals of U.S. military assistance to the kingdom, according to the State Department, as US News reported.

7. Colombia: $272.9 million

Top 10 Countries Received The Most Military Aids From The US Right Now
Photo: harvardpolitics.com.

Colombia—a close U.S. ally in Latin America—endured more than half a century of internal armed conflict. To address the country’s role in illegal drug production, the United States and Colombia forged a close relationship. Plan Colombia, a program focused initially on counternarcotics and later on counterterrorism, laid the foundation for an enduring security partnership that has lasted more than two decades. The United States also has supported the implementation of a peace accord that President Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018) concluded with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)—the country’s largest leftist guerrilla organization at the time.

Under Plan Colombia, significant U.S. funding, technical assistance, and equipment support was provided to Colombian-led counter-narcotics programs for drug eradication and interdiction. Plan Colombia expired in 2012, but American support remains critical to Colombia’s Armed Forces, which today mostly comes from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL).

Through the Foreign Military Sales Trust Fund, the U.S. Department of Defense provides equipment and training to the Colombian military and police through military assistance programs. Other sources of funding include the U.S. State Department and programs that it administers, such as the INL program. INL has been the main source of funding for equipment acquisition in Colombia since 1990 through private military consulting firms. These firms operate through an open market competitive bidding system, mainly focused on supporting the National Police for drug eradication/interdiction operations.

The United States continues to enjoy a privileged relationship with Colombia with regard to military equipment acquisitions. However, competitors from France, Korea, Canada, Switzerland, Russia, Israel, and the United Kingdom, are also important players and are increasingly gaining market share. The Colombian military tends to use standardized equipment and values relationships, quality, warranties, interoperability, and familiarity with the equipment. According to official estimates, the U.S. import market share in 2020 represented 37 percent of Colombia’s total imports of military equipment (France has 47 percent and Korea has five percent)

As trade.gov reported, the Colombian military maintains high standards for its equipment, which has historically been a great opportunity for U.S. exporters. However, the United States could lose market share in the future due to more competitive bidding from foreign manufacturers and corruption in the procurement process. U.S. manufactured fabrics are already losing market share in certain sectors such as specialized fabrics for uniforms, which are increasingly being sourced from China.

8. Somalia: $94.1 million

The United States established diplomatic relations with Somalia in 1960, following its constituent parts’ independence from British and Italian administration, respectively. A 1969 coup replaced Somalia’s elected government with military rule that reflected both ideological and economic dependence on the Soviet Union. Following war with Ethiopia in the 1970s, Somalia began turning toward the West, including the United States, for international support, military equipment, and economic aid. The start of a civil war in the 1980s led to the collapse of Somalia’s central government in 1991.

The US military and State Department have been involved in providing security force assistance to AMISOM. Since 2006 the US has spent nearly $2 billion on bilateral and multilateral forms of security assistance for AMISOM’s contributing countries. This has been in the form of training, equipment and advising programmes – often implemented by contractor firms – as well as the US contributions to the UN Support Office for Somalia (UNSOS), which since 2009 has provided AMISOM with logistical support.

On the military track, as chathamhouse.org reported, several hundred US troops are now regularly deployed in Somalia. They operate out of several commands, including AFRICOM, US Army Africa, the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Joint Special Operations Command, as well as a Military Coordination Cell based in Mogadishu since at least 2014. In 2016 the Obama administration moved to expand US military action in Somalia. The primary objective was to defend US, AU and some Somali security personnel in parts of Somalia that were not officially considered ‘areas of active hostilities’. The Trump administration went a step further in March 2017, designating parts of Somalia an ‘area of active hostilities’, which gave US military commanders greater leeway in defining targets and approving airstrikes. Under these expanded authorities, US troops have continued several longer-standing activities.

There have not been elections under universal suffrage in Somalia since 1967, except in Somaliland, which has held a number of one-person-one-vote presidential and parliamentary elections.

9. Lebanon: $71 million

Top 10 Countries Received The Most Military Aids From The US Right Now
Photo: aa.com.tr.

As shephardmedia.com reported, the US State Department describes security assistance for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) as ‘a key component’ of US policy towards the Middle Eastern country.

Since 2006, US investments of more than $2.5 billion in the LAF included military grants of $216 million in FY2020 alone and $1.83 billion in active FMS proposals. Examples cited by the State Department include HMMWVs, Huey II helicopters, AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and TOW 2A anti-tank missiles. One notable FMS delivery in recent years saw the arrival of six A-29s Super Tucanos for the Lebanese Air Force in June 2018.

The United States plans to reroute $67 million of military assistance for Lebanon's armed forces to support members of the military as the country grapples with financial meltdown, as Reuters reported.

According to a notification sent to Congress, the State Department intends to change the content of previously appropriated foreign military funding for Lebanon to include "livelihood support" for members of the Lebanese military, citing economic turmoil as well as social unrest.

According to The Nation News, the American aid will go towards reinforcing “shared priorities in counter-terrorism, border security and defence-institution building".

The US announcement follows a warning by Gen Aoun in March in which he said the military is in dire need of help lest soldiers “go hungry” as Lebanon grapples with the economic crisis. His warning had raised concerns among Lebanon’s allies that the army may be stretched too thin, with paramilitary groups such as Iran-backed Hezbollah and militant groups operating in neighbouring Syria.

In 2021, the Lebanese Army announced it would no longer be serving meat to its soldiers as it was too expensive. The Lebanese pound has lost more than 80 per cent of its value in the past year and a half, slashing the purchasing power of Lebanese residents, including military personnel, at a time of social and political unrest.

In a letter sent to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee said that the economic hardship of Lebanese soldiers “threatens to lead to desertions, degradation of the force and further civil conflict".

10. Tunisia: $52.4 million

Top 10 Countries Received The Most Military Aids From The US Right Now
Photo: dw.com.

According to state.gov, the United States was the first major power to recognize Tunisian sovereignty and established diplomatic relations with Tunisia in 1956 following its independence from France. On January 14, 2011, a popular revolution began a process of democratic transition that is still underway. A Constituent Assembly charged with drafting a new constitution was elected in October 2011 in elections that were considered to be free and fair. Tunisia now faces the challenges of strengthening the country’s nascent democratic institutions; facilitating constructive popular participation in the national political process; creating jobs, especially for youth, women, and college graduates; countering the threat of transnational terrorism and spillover from conflicts in neighboring countries; and managing increased demands on the national security forces.

Since the January 2011 revolution, the U.S. has committed more than $1.4 billion to support Tunisia’s transition. U.S. assistance to Tunisia focuses on an array of targeted areas that include ensuring and enhancing internal and external security, promoting democratic practices and good governance, and supporting sustainable economic growth.

In 2019 the US and Tunisia signed a five year bilateral Development Objective Agreement for USAID to provide up to $335 million to support increased private sector employment and democratic consolidation.

Tunisia's revolution in the winter of 2010-11 heralded the arrival of the Arab Spring. According to the State Department, the U.S. made it a priority "to help Tunisia provide a secure environment conducive to the development of democratic institutions and practices," which includes supporting anti-terrorism efforts. However, the country has taken a more authoritarian turn since President Kais Saied suspended parliament last summer, and Biden now wants to slash military aid to the country in half.

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