Precision Smokestack Targeting

Russian smokestack
Once in awhile I read an amusing quote. There was one recently in an article by The Wall Street Journal reporting on the Pentagon’s first cyber strategy. Part of the plan warns nations of the consequences of attacking the U.S. by hacking computer systems. Hackers, supported by national governments, pose as significant a threat to U.S. nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines as a hostile country’s military.

An unidentified U.S. military official said:

“If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks.”

Previous attacks have originated from Russia and China but often both the perpetrator and impact are unclear.
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2010 Defense Spending by Country

2010 Defense Spending by Country

The eighteen countries with the largest military budgets. See table below for actual dollar amounts.

Military Expenditures

The eighteen nations with the largest military budgets in 2010 are shown in the chart above (click to enlarge). The United States, with a budget of $698 billion, spends more on defense than the next seventeen nations combined. The United States military spending is almost six times that of the next biggest spender, China ($119 billion) and more than eleven times that of Russia ($59 billion).

The Department of Defense budget in fiscal year 2010 accounted for 19% of the United States federal budget and 28% of estimated tax revenues. The U.S. accounts for 40% of the world’s yearly defense outlays.

Defense Spending by GDP – Top Ten Countries

Patrol near Combat Outpost Castle, Helmand province, Afghanistan

U.S. Marine patrol, Combat Outpost Castle, Afghanistan

  1. Eritrea 20.9%
  2. Saudi Arabia 11.2%
  3. Oman 9.7%
  4. United Arab Emirates 7.3%
  5. Timor Leste 6.8%
  6. Israel 6.3%
  7. Chad 6.2%
  8. Jordan 6.1%
  9. Georgia 5.6%
  10. Iraq 5.4 %

When spending is considered by percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the United States is not even in the top ten. At 4.7% of GDP the U.S. falls to eleventh place.

Six of the ten countries listed are in the Middle East where there are sharp regional tensions. The fear of conventional military attack is very real which helps justify high defense spending.

Internal instability is a growing factor and is a threat to the existing power structure within states, as demonstrated by recent uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and other Middle East countries.

GDP percentages are for 2009, except for Eritrea (2003). The list contains seven countries that do not appear in the table below because their total military spending is lower than the top thirty nations.

Table Of Defense Spending – Top 30 Countries in 2010

Click ONCE on column headers to sort.

Country $billion1 $ Rank %GDP2 %GDP Rank3 $ Per Capita
United States4 & 8 698.3 1 4.7 11 2,260
China9 119.4 2 2.2 55 88
United Kingdom 59.6 3 2.7 45 963
France 59.3 4 2.5 47 915
Russia 58.7 5 4.3 14 419
Japan7 54.5 6 1.0 129 429
Saudi Arabia5 45.2 7 11.2 2 1,727
Germany 45.2 8 1.4 99 550
India 41.3 9 2.8 42 34
Italy11 37.0 10 1.8 77 615
Brazil 33.5 11 1.6 88 172
South Korea10 27.6 12 2.9 39 569
Australia 24.0 13 1.9 70 1,115
Canada 22.8 14 1.5 91 672
Turkey 17.5 15 2.7 44 231
United Arab Emirates12 16.1 16 7.3 4 3,410
Spain 15.4 17 1.1 122 339
Israel6 14.0 18 6.3 6 1,929
Netherlands 11.2 19 1.5 93 671
Colombia 10.7 20 3.7 25 232
Greece 9.4 21 3.2 34 835
Taiwan 9.1 22 2.4 49 395
Poland 8.9 23 1.8 78 234
Singapore 8.4 24 4.3 13 1,736
Indonesia 7.2 25 0.9 136 31
Chile5 6.9 26 3.5 28 404
Norway 6.7 27 1.6 87 1,385
Algeria 5.7 28 3.8 21 160
Pakistan 5.6 29 2.8 43 31
Sweden 5.6 30 1.2 118 607



  1. Figures are in US $billions at 2010 prices and exchange rates.
  2. Percent GDP is for 2009.
  3. Percent GDP ranking is included because high expenditure countries are not necessarily spending at high percent of GDP.
  4. $159.3 billion of the U.S. budget is for “Overseas Contingency Operations,” to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  5. Figures for Chile and Saudi Arabia are for the adopted budget, rather than actual expenditure.
  6. Figures for Israel do not include spending on paramilitary forces.
  7. Figures for Japan do not include military pensions.
  8. Figures for the USA are for financial year (1 October to 30 September of stated year).
  9. Figures for China are estimates, including estimates for items not in the official defense budget.
  10. Figures for South Korea do not include spending on relocations and welfare of $974 million dollars.
  11. Figures for Italy include spending on civil defence, which typically amounts to 4.5% of the total.
  12. Figures for United Arab Emirates are uncertain and lacking in transparency. The only available source of data is from the IMF.


  • SIPRI Military Expenditure Database 2011,
  • Dollars per capita were calculated using 2010 populations via Wolfram Alpha.
  • U.S. military budget percentages from Wikipedia, accessed 4 June 2011.
  • DoD photo by Chief Warrant Officer 2nd Class Clinton W. Runyon, U.S. Marine Corps.

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15 Military Action Photographs

The mission of the Department of Defense is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of the United States of America.

Largest Employer

The Department of Defense is America’s oldest and largest government agency. With over 1.4 million men and women on active duty, and 718,000 civilian personnel, the Department of Defense is the nation’s largest employer. Another 1.1 million serve in the National Guard and Reserve forces.

The Pentagon

Headquarters of the Department of Defense, the Pentagon is one of the world’s largest office buildings. It is twice the size of the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, and has three times the floor space of the Empire State Building in New York.

Built during the early years of World War II, it is still thought of as one of the most efficient office buildings in the world. Despite 17.5 miles of corridors it takes only seven minutes to walk between any two points in the building.

The Department’s physical plant is huge, consisting of more than several hundred thousand individual buildings and structures located at more than 5,000 different locations or sites. When all sites are added together, the Department of Defense utilizes over 30 million acres of land.

Fifteen Photographs

The following photographs show the United States military in action while training and in combat. The only criteria for selection was that a photograph showed weaponry in use and that I liked the image.

Detonating a controlled disposal of an improvised explosive device
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew Rigsby and Air Force Staff Sgts. Devlin Long and Scott Underdoll detonate a controlled disposal of an improvised explosive device near Espandi, Afghanistan, Jan. 10, 2011. Rigsby, Long and Underoll, all explosive ordnance disposal technicians, are assigned to Forward Operating Base Ghazni.

A blast during the Dynamic Entry course
U.S. Marines, Reconnaissance and Explosive Ordnance Disposal, take cover from a blast during the Dynamic Entry course on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Oct. 29, 2008. The 10-day course is held semi-annually, by the III Marine Expeditionary Forces Special Operations Training Group to teach Marines how to breach buildings, through various techniques.

Live fire range qualification
U.S. Army Pfc. Mark Ayers stands ready to dispose of spent brass during a artillery live fire qualification range on Memorial Range, Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, May 21, 2010. Ayers is assigned to Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery. The soldiers are required to conduct range qualification to keep the fire team’s accuracy and timing at its best.

Supporting machine-gun fire
A U.S. Marine with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment provides support by fire during Operation Cobra’s Anger in Now Zad, Afghanistan, on Dec. 5, 2009. The Marines are clearing buildings occupied by insurgents.

Modified Standard Missile-2 Block IV interceptors
The U.S. Navy launches two modified Standard Missile-2 Block IV interceptors from the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie during a Missile Defense Agency test to intercept a short-range ballistic missile target, June 5, 2008. The missiles intercepted the target approximately 12 miles above the Pacific Ocean 100 miles west of Kauai, Hawaii, on the Pacific Missile Range Facility.

Operation in the Helmund province in Afghanistan
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan Pettit (left) and Cpl. Matthew Miller with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment fire their service rifles during an operation in the Helmand province of Afghanistan on July 3, 2009. The Marines are part of the ground combat element of Regiment Combat Team 3, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

Firing MK-45 5-inch 54-caliber lightweight gun
The guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher fires its MK-45 5-inch/54-caliber lightweight gun during a gun exercise in the Atlantic Ocean, Jan. 22, 2011. Mitscher is conducting a composite training unit exercise as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group to prepare for an upcoming combat deployment.

Firing M119 Howitzer
U.S. Army soldiers from Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery train on firing points with an M119 Howitzer outside Camp Liberty in Iraq on Dec. 23, 2005.

Firing M4 rifle
U.S. Army Pvt. Adam Eggers shoots his M4 rifle at a live-fire range on Camp Blessing in Kunar province, Afghanistan, July 27, 2009. Eggers is assigned to the 4th Infantry Division’s Company A, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade.

Firing AT-4 light anti-armor weapon
Marine Lance Cpl. Gary R. Nichols fires an AT-4 light anti-armor weapon at an old tank during fire and maneuver training near Camp Bucca, Iraq, on July 18, 2005. Nichols and his fellow Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) are operating out of Camp Bucca to conduct various force protection missions.

Ground-based interceptor of the Ballistic Missile Defence System
A ground-based interceptor lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Dec. 5, 2008. The launch is a test of the Ballistic Missile Defense System, which successfully intercepted a long-range target launched from Kodiak, Alaska.

Firing 120mm mortars from Stryker MCV-B
U.S. soldiers fire 120mm mortars from their Stryker MCV-B during crew certification at Fort Lewis, Wash., May 30, 2008. The soldiers are assigned to 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment.

Deploying a MK-154 Mine Clearing Charge system
U.S. Marines from 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment deploy an MK-154 Mine Clearing Line Charge system during assault training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., Jan. 18, 2009.

Controlled donation during a clearing operation
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Kyle Page, right, and an Estonian Defense Forces member make their way over rubble as a controlled detonation explodes behind them during a clearing operation in Northern Now Zad, Afghanistan, Oct. 26, 2008. Page is a team leader with 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, attached to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
Firing a M-198 howitzer
Smoke spews from the muzzle of an M-198 howitzer as a projectile is launched down Artillery Firing Area 8 at Camp Pendleton, Calif, July 7, 2005. With the reality of guerrilla warfare in Iraq, Marines from Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, broke in the new firing base tailored to what they’ll face in Iraq.


Photographs and descriptions: U.S. Department of Defense.
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2009 Defense Spending by Country

Defense Spending by Country

The fifteen countries with the largest annual military budgets. See table below for actual dollar amounts.

Note: This post has been superseded. See 2010 Defense Spending by Country.

Billions and Billions

The fifteen nations with the largest annual military budgets are shown in the chart above (click to enlarge). The United States, with a budget of $636 billion annually, spends more on defense than the next sixteen nations combined. The United States military spending is more than six times that of the next biggest spender, China ($99 billion) and ten times that of Russia ($61 billion). The U.S. accounts for 43% of the world’s yearly defense outlays.

Annual military expenditures by NATO, of which the U.S. is a member, total over one trillion dollars.

Defense Spending by GDP and Per Capita

Soldier in IraqWhen spending is considered by percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the United States at 4.3% falls to eleventh place. Eritrea (20.9%), Georgia (8.5%), and Saudi Arabia (8.2%) take the top spots. Note that Eritrea, Georgia, and some other countries with higher percent GDP spending that the United States do not all appear in the table below.

The highest per capita spending is by United Arab Emirates ($2,653), the United States ($2,142), and Israel ($1,882).

Table Of Annual Defense Spending By Country

Click ONCE on column headers to sort.

Rank Country $billion %GDP $ Per Capita
1 United States 663.3 4.3 2,141
2 China 98.8 2.0 75
3 United Kingdom 69.3 2.5 940
4 France 67.3 2.3 977
5 Russia 61.0 2.6 430
6 Germany 48.0 1.3 558
7 Japan 46.9 0.9 401
8 Saudi Arabia 39.3 8.2 1,524
9 Italy 37.4 1.7 593
10 India 36.6 2.6 31
11 South Korea 27.1 2.8 493
12 Brazil 27.1 1.5 142
13 Canada 20.6 1.3 560
14 Australia 20.1 1.8 893
15 Spain 19.4 1.2 398
16 Turkey 19.0 2.2 244
17 Israel 14.3 7.0 1,882
18 Greece 13.9 3.6 1,230
19 United Arab Emirates 13.0 5.9 2,653
20 Netherlands 12.6 1.4 759
21 Poland 10.9 2.0 285
22 Colombia 10.1 3.7 77
23 Taiwan 9.9 2.1 335
24 Iran 9.2 2.7 65
25 Singapore 8.0 4.1 1,003
26 Sweden 6.1 1.3 657
27 Norway 6.1 1.3 1,245
28 Chile 5.7 3.5 212
29 Algeria 5.7 3.0 77
30 Belgium 5.7 1.2 525


  1. Military spending is for 2009 but in 2008 dollars.
  2. Percent GDP is for 2008, except for Eritrea (not shown in table) which is for 2003.
  3. Nearly one-quarter of the U.S. budget was associated with operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  4. Not all countries are listed.


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USS Utah

USS Utah

USS Utah was a battleship that was attacked and sunk in Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. A Florida-class battleship, she was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for the U.S. state of Utah. Prior to World War 2 she had declined in usefulness and had even served for a while as a mobile target for gunnery practice. In 1941, however, she had been refitted and was in use for training purposes when sunk by a torpedo in the Japanese attack.

Utah was laid down on 9 March 1909 at Camden, New Jersey, by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation. She was launched on 23 December 1909 under the sponsorship of Miss Mary Alice Spry, daughter of Utah Governor William Spry; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 31 August 1911, Captain William S. Benson in command. (Wikipedia)

USS Utah turrets

Semaphore flags are a system for conveying information at a distance by means of visual signals with hand-held flags, rods, disks, paddles, or occasionally bare or gloved hands. Information is encoded by the position of the flags; it is read when the flag is in a fixed position. Semaphores were adopted and widely used in the maritime world in the early 1800s. Semaphore signals were used, for example, at the Battle of Trafalgar. This was the period in which the modern naval semaphore system was invented. This system uses hand-held flags. It is still used during underway replenishment at sea and is acceptable for emergency communication in daylight or, using lighted wands instead of flags, at night.

USS Utah semaphore

Photo Credits: Library of Congress USS Utah | Turrets on Utah | Semaphore on Utah
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The Cost of War

The Cost of War

The Cost of War as of 11:15 pm 16 April 2010 MDT

I came across an interesting web site today called the National Priorities Project. The site analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent. One of the pages, called the Cost of War, lets you see the cost of war to your community.

For example, the state of Utah’s share of the money spent would be $5,277,419,209. For Texas, where my daughter lives, it is $80,460,219,390. You can even see what benefit your city would have received. For Salt Lake City, near where I live, the amount is $347,007,874.

The Numbers

The numbers indicate all of the approved funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to date. These appropriations do not include funds to support the “surge” of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, with estimated costs of approximately $30 billion.

Soldier firing automatic grenade launcher

Insurgents attack Combat Outpost Bar Alai, Afghanistan

By September 30, 2010, the cost of the wars will reach $1.05 trillion. The numbers include both military and non-military spending such as reconstruction. Spending includes only incremental costs, those additional funds that are expended due to the war. For example, soldiers’ regular pay is not included but combat pay is included.

Future Costs

Potential future costs, such as future medical care for soldiers and veterans wounded in the war, are not included. These numbers do not account for the wars being deficit-financed or that taxpayers will need to make additional interest payments on the national debt due to these deficits.

It is likely that the true cost of the wars will be a much higher total. It is unfortunate that money is being spent this way when in these tough economic times it could do so much good at home.

I have been surprised how quiet the media has been about the wars. When Democrats surged back to power in 2006 with cries that the war must end, the story was everywhere. Now that we have a Democrat President and Congress surely we should have left Iraq and Afghanistan by now.

At the very least the same media that carried the end-the-war-now message in 2006 should be advocating the same now.

Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gary A. Witte
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San Jacinto Monument

San Jacinto Monument

San Jacinto Monument

Prior to touring the Battleship Texas we visited the San Jacinto Monument and learned about the Battle of San Jacinto. In the above photograph of the monument, Derek and Bryson are by the minivan, Jill is to the right, and Sarah is gesturing. We rode the elevator to the top of the monument to enjoy the view of the Houston Ship Channel and the USS Texas from 550 feet.

San Jacinto Monument observation windows

San Jacinto Monument observation windows from where we viewed Houston and the USS Texas

The San Jacinto Monument is a 567 foot high column located on the Houston Ship Channel near the city of Deer Park, Texas. The monument is topped with a 220-ton star that commemorates the site of the Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. The monument, constructed between 1936 and 1939 is the world’s tallest monumental column and is part of the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. By comparison, the Washington Monument is 555 feet tall. The column is an octagonal shaft faced with Texas Cordova shellstone, topped with a 34-foot Lone Star.

San Jacinto Monument engravings

San Jacinto Monument engravings

The monument recounts the Battle of San Jacinto with words and engravings etched into its stone. Below is the fourth segment of the eight section story, which I will recount in the next eight paragraphs.

San Jacinto Monument 4th section

The 4th section engraved on the San Jacinto Monument telling of Texas independence

The early policies of Mexico toward her Texas colonists had been extremely liberal. Large grants of land were made to them, and no taxes or duties imposed. The relationship between the Anglo-Americans and Mexicans was cordial. But, following a series of revolutions begun in 1829, unscrupulous rulers successively seized power in Mexico. Their unjust acts and despotic decrees led to the revolution in Texas.

In June, 1832, the colonists forced the Mexican authorities at Anahuac to release Wm. B. Travis and others from unjust imprisonment. The Battle of Velasco, June 26, and the Battle of Nacogdoches, August 2, followed; in both the Texans were victorious. Stephen Fuller Austin, “Father of Texas,” was arrested January 3, 1834, and held in Mexico without trial until July, 1835. The Texans formed an army, and on November 12, 1835, established a provisional government.

San Jacinto Monument Texas Cordova shellstone

San Jacinto Monument Texas Cordova shellstone

The first shot of the Revolution of 1835-36 was fired by the Texans at Gonzales, October 2, 1835, in resistance to a demand by Mexican soldiers for a small cannon held by the colonists. The Mexican garrison at Goliad fell October 9; the Battle of Concepcion was won by the Texans, October 28. San Antonio was captured December 10, 1835 after five days of fighting in which the indomitable Benjamin R. Milam died a hero, and the Mexican Army evacuated Texas.

Texas declared her independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos March 2. For nearly two months her armies met disaster and defeat: Dr. James Grant’s men were killed on the Aguadulce March 2; William Barret Travis and his men sacrificed their lives at the Alamo, March 6; William Ward was defeated at Refugio, March 14; Amos B. King’s men were executed near Refugio, March 16; and James Walker Fannin and his army were put to death near Goliad March 27, 1836.

San Jacinto Monument Sarah and Bryson

Sarah and Bryson in the observation deck of the San Jacinto Monument

On this field on April 21, 1836 the Army of Texas commanded by General Sam Houston, and accompanied by the Secretary of War, Thomas J. Rusk, attacked the larger invading army of Mexicans under General Santa Anna. The battle line from left to right was formed by Sidney Sherman’s regiment, Edward Burleson’s regiment, the artillery commanded by George W. Hockley, Henry Millard’s infantry and the cavalry under Mirabeau B. Lamar. Sam Houston led the infantry charge.

With the battle cry, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” the Texans charged. The enemy taken by surprise, rallied for a few minutes then fled in disorder. The Texans had asked no quarter and gave none. The slaughter was appalling, victory complete, and Texas free! On the following day General Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna, self-styled “Napoleon of the West,” received from a generous foe the mercy he had denied Travis at the Alamo and Fannin at Goliad.

San Jacinto Monument view of USS Texas

San Jacinto Monument view of USS Texas

Citizens of Texas and immigrant soldiers in the Army of Texas at San Jacinto were natives of Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Austria, Canada, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Scotland.

Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican-American War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American Nation, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty.

San Jacinto Monument view of the Houston Channel

San Jacinto Monument view of the Houston Ship Channel

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Battleship Texas

Battleship Texas from the San Jacinto Monument

Battleship Texas from the top of San Jacinto Monument

On my recent March trip to Texas I took the opportunity to tour the Battleship Texas. She is anchored at San Jacinto State Park, the first US battleship to become a permanent museum ship, and the first battleship declared to be a US National Historic Landmark. I will tell the story of this great battleship using the informational signs placed on deck.

Battleship Texas 14 inch guns

No. 1 and No. 2 turrets have four of the ten 14-inch 45 caliber guns, which fired 1,400 lb armor piercing shells

Built during the period of arms escalation in the early 20th century, the Texas was briefly the most powerful battleship in the world. She was designed around her massive 10-gun main battery which was capable of firing 7 tons of 14″ shells at targets 12 miles away. This concentration of offensive firepower in the big guns distinguished the Texas as a dreadnought, a ship fearing none other at sea.

Battleship Texas shells

Derek illustrates the relative size of the shells the Texas fired

Launched in 1912 at Newport News, Virginia, the USS Texas marked the beginning of the American rise to world-power status in the early 20th century. Texas survived as a warship because of the 1922 arms limitation agreement. By treaty, no new ships could be built; thus, the Texas was sent to drydock to be modernized and refitted. Improvements included new torpedo protection, new oil-fired boilers to replace those fueled by coal and additional armor plating and anti-aircraft weapons.

Battleship Texas Bryson operates gun

Bryson operates gun on Battleship Texas

The Texas was equipped to defend herself against destroyers and torpedo boats, which moved too close and too fast for the big guns of her main battery. This secondary battery consisted of sixteen 5-inch 51 caliber guns (originally 21 guns) that fired 50 lb. projectiles, eight to ten per minute, with a range of eight miles. Six of the guns were mounted in an “aircastle” on the main deck.

Battleship Texas anti-aircraft guns

Battleship Texas anti-aircraft guns

The defense from the air attack had become far more vital by the onset of World War II. By 1945 the Texas was equipped with these anti-aircraft guns: ten 3-inch 50-caliber guns, ten 40mm four-gun (quad) mounts and forty four 20mm guns.

Battleship Texas dentist

Battleship Texas dentist

During World War II, Battleship Texas’ crew grew to more than 1,800 men. The ship had to provide for each of these men’s basic needs, including haircuts and visits to the dentist. There was a canteen, soda fountain, library, dispensary, and post office.

Battleship Texas sleeping quarters

Jill found her way to the crew's sleeping quarters

Diagonal armor raised the protection above the second deck to enclose the conning tower trunk, the boiler uptakes, and part of the secondary battery. Barbettes and a conning tower with 12″ armor rose above the main deck. “Non-essential” spaces — crew and officer’s berthing, gallery, and sick bay, for example — were left vulnerable to a direct hit.

The purpose of a battleship was to float her big guns into action against an enemy and to keep them floating and firing. The ten, 14-inch diameter guns of the Texas’ main battery were her reason for being. A full broadside could be fired every minute and a half. These guns made the Texas the powerful weapon in the world in 1914 and a serious threat thirty years later.

14 inch guns on the Battleship Texas

14 inch guns on the Battleship Texas

Shells and 105 lb. silk bags of powder were stored in magazines below armored decks. For loading each gun, a shell and four powder magazines were passed into the handling rooms and hoisted up the armored barbettes into the turrets.

The 14-inch guns were directed from fire control stations atop the foremast and in the tower aft of the stack. Here, the bearing of the target was observed and the distance estimated with firing finders. With the help of spotter aircraft watching the splashes as the shells hit the water, fire controllers could correct the range after each shot.

Battleship Texas main battery fire control

Main battery fire control at the top of the foremast

Ballistic calculations — for speed and direction of target and ship, wind direction and other factors — were made in the plotting room deep inside the ship. During World War II, radar and a Combat Information Center in the foremast were added.

In the event of battle damage to the fire control systems, the guns could be fired by local control. The turrets could even be rotated and the guns elevated by hand if the electrical power were knocked out.

Battleship Texas and San Jacinto Monument

Battleship Texas and San Jacinto Monument

To see this battleship was one of the highlights of my trip to Texas. I recommend that you pay her a visit when you are in the area. Here are a few more photographs of Battleship Texas.

There were guns everywhere on Battleship Texas

There were guns everywhere on Battleship Texas

Battleship Texas from the bow

View from the stern. Sarah stands by the 14-inch guns

Battleship Texas Rick mans the guns

Rick mans the guns

Battleship Texas Jill mans the guns

Jill mans the guns

Battleship Texas Bryson and Sarah

Bryson and Sarah

Battleship Texas Jill Sarah Bryson

Jill, Sarah, and Bryson

Can you see Jill, Sarah, and Bryson in the photograph above? One of my favorite photographs is the one below that shows a gun protruding from what seems like every square inch of Battleship Texas.

Battleship Texas massed guns

Don't mess with Battleship Texas

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Defense Spending by Country

Defense Spending

The fifteen countries with the largest annual military budgets. See table below for actual dollar amounts.

This information is outdated. See this post for the latest in military spending.

Defense Spending In The Billions

The chart above shows the fifteen nations with the greatest annual military spending. The United States, with a budget of $535.9 billion annually, spends more on defense than the next fourteen nations combined. One wonders if all that spending by the United States is really necessary, considering that the U.S. military budget is more than four times that of the next largest spender, China, at $121.9 billion. If America’s NATO allies are included just from the chart above (which is not all of NATO), that adds another $207.2 billion in defense spending. Those countries are the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Spain.

Defense Spending By GDP

When spending is considered by percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the United States at 4.1% falls to eighth place. Saudi Arabia (10.0%), Russia (9.9%), and Israel (7.3%) take over first, second, and third place respectively.

Table Of Annual Defense Spending By Country

Click ONCE on column headers to sort.

Rank Country $Billion %GDP
1 United States 535.9 4.1
2 China 121.9 4.3
3 Russia 70.0 9.9
4 United Kingdom 55.4 2.4
5 France 54.0 2.6
6 Japan 41.1 0.8
7 Germany 37.8 1.5
8 Italy 30.6 1.8
9 Saudi Arabia 29.5 10.0
10 South Korea 24.6 2.7
11 India 22.4 2.5
12 Australia 17.2 2.4
13 Brazil 16.2 2.6
14 Canada 15.0 1.1
15 Spain 14.4 1.2
16 Turkey 11.6 5.3
17 Israel 11.0 7.3
18 Netherlands 9.9 1.6
19 United Arab Emirates 9.5 3.1
20 Indonesia 8.4 3.0
21 Taiwan 7.7 2.2
22 Greece 7.3 4.3
23 Iran 7.2 2.5
24 Myanmar (Burma) 6.9 2.1
25 Singapore 6.3 4.9
26 Poland 6.2 1.7
27 Ukraine 6.0 1.4
28 Sweden 5.8 1.5
29 Colombia 5.4 3.4
30 Norway 5.0 1.9


  • The Economist, “…and Wars”. Pocket World in Figures 2009 Edition. Profile Books. Dollar amounts are for 2006, except Indonesia which is for 2005.
  • The CIA World Factbook, listing spending on defense programs for the most recent year available as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP); the GDP is calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP).

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