More Money for Secret Intelligence Programs

The topline budget request for the U.S. Military Intelligence Program is $23.1 billion for fiscal 2021, which is nearly flat from the 2020 request, but still the highest since the Pentagon began releasing its MIP topline in 2013, according to a Feb. 11 press release.

The figure is inclusive of intelligence activities for all military services and defense agencies, and includes spending in both the base budget and the overseas contingency operations budget. The funding supports organizations like the Defense Intelligence Agency and National Reconnaissance Office, but it does not support any other part of the National Intelligence Community, such as the CIA.

Over the last eight budget proposals, military intelligence funding has not consistently risen. The MIP topline mostly declined from $19.2 billion in 2013 to $16.8 billion in 2017. Classified funding shot up by 24 percent, to just over $22 billion in 2018, and since then has dropped slightly before rising again to this year’s high-water mark of just over $23 billion, which is practically flat from 2020.

The Pentagon, in its annual disclosure, said the release of the overall budget figure for intelligence “does not jeopardize any classified activities within the MIP.” No further details were released.

Below is a breakdown of military intelligence funding since fiscal 2013:

Fiscal YearMilitary Intelligence Topline (Not adjusted for inflation)Adjusted to 2019 Dollars
2021$23.1 billion$23 billion
2020$22.95 billion$23 billion
2019$21.5 billion$21.8 billion
2018$22.1 billion$22.5 billion
2017$16.8 billion$17.5 billion
2016$17.9 billion$19.1 billion
2015$16.5 billion$17.8 billion
2014$17.4 billion$18.8 billion
2013$19.2 billion$21.1 billion