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Biggest recipients of U.S. military aid

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Dawn Weber // US Air Force

Biggest recipients of U.S. military aid

The U.S. has provided large amounts of foreign aid since the end of World War II, prompted by what President Kennedy later called  “our moral...and political obligations.” To fulfill the obligation, Kennedy created the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1961, which centralized programs that advance U.S. foreign policy through international aid and developmental assistance.

President Donald Trump's “America First” agenda calls for drastic cuts to foreign aid, which makes up little more than 1% of the federal budget. This change would impact programs that promote humanitarian causes and economic development, as well as provide military aid through the Foreign Military Funding (FMF) program. FMF aims to improve the defense forces of countries aligned with U.S. interests who then fight terrorism, protect U.S. allies, or promote peace and democracy around the world.

The government plans to spend $5.3 billion in FMF through the fiscal year, with 97% of that going to only 10 countries. Stacker ranked the 10 countries receiving the vast majority of the FMF budget from lowest to highest, according to USAID budget proposals for the 2019 fiscal year, as well as data from the State Department. Data from the previous three years is included for comparison. The FMF for some countries dropped to $0 in the fiscal year of 2018 because of budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration.

The list provides a sweeping look at the U.S.' military priorities across the globe, including two Middle Eastern neighbors taking home 86% of the budget, an Asian island nation fighting Islamic State (IS)-affiliated groups on its shores, and a European country still reeling from a violent revolution.

ALSO: Biggest recipients of U.S. foreign aid

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chauha // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Vietnam

Foreign military financing requested allocation (FY2019): $12 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2018): $0
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2017): $12 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2016): $11 million

The U.S. and Vietnam have grown their economic and military ties after years of sanctions following the Vietnam War. In 2016, the U.S. lifted a ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam, and the two countries continue to work together to combat the growing influence of China in southeast Asia. Most of U.S. military aid goes toward defending Vietnam's territorial claims in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

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EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operation// Flickr

#9. Ukraine (tie)

Foreign military financing requested allocation (FY2019): $20 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2018): $0
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2017): $99 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2016): $85 million

In 2014, Ukraine's efforts to join the European Union and NATO military alliance—and move away from Russia's sphere of influence—plunged the nation into violent unrest.  Russian forces intervened in the predominantly Russian-speaking eastern part of the country, which led to the annexation of Crimea. The conflict continues to concern the U.S., as Russia maintains its influence in the area with aggressive moves such as the seizure of Ukrainian ships in December 2018.

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US Marine Corps Matthew Howe // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Colombia (tie)

Foreign military financing requested allocation (FY2019): $20 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2018): $0
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2017): $39 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2016): $27 million

In the 1990s, Colombia's decades-long civil conflict and growing drug trade threatened to rip the country apart. In response, the U.S. passed the “Plan Colombia” military aid package, which strengthened the government's forces. The conflict ended with a 2016 peace agreement between the government and guerilla forces, but military aid continues to flow to the country through “Peace Colombia,” a plan implemented by the Obama administration to ease reconciliation and continue the fight against drug trafficking.

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US Navy William Sykes // Flickr

#7. Philippines

Foreign military financing requested allocation (FY2019): $30 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2018): $0
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2017): $40 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2016): $50 million

Despite moving the Philippines diplomatically closer to neighborhooding China, President Rodrigo Duterte has continued his island nation's close military cooperation with the U.S. Military aid is aimed at bolstering the Philippines' control of disputed waters in the South China Sea and fighting IS-affiliated terror groups on the southern island of Mindanao.

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Magharebia // Flickr

#6. Tunisia

Foreign military financing requested allocation (FY2019): $40 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2018): $0
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2017): $95 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2016): $65 million

In December 2010, Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution marked the beginning of the pro-democracy Arab Spring protests that swept across much of North Africa. U.S. military has supported Tunisia's ability to fight terrorism and maintain stability. Aid tripled after deadly militant attacks in 2015, and Congress has resisted calls by the Trump administration for deep cuts.

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L-BBE // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Lebanon

Foreign military financing requested allocation (FY2019): $50 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2018): $0
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2017): $80 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2016): $86 million

Since 2006, the U.S. has provided significant support to Lebanon aimed at bolstering the country against foreign influences, fighting terrorism, and helping the country secure its borders. U.S. aid also aims to counter the influence of Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militant group that is recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S. but made significant gains in Lebanon's 2018 parliamentary elections.

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US Air Force Barry Loo // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Pakistan

Foreign military financing requested allocation (FY2019): $80 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2018): $100 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2017): $242 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2016): $255 million

After decades of strained relations during the Cold War, Pakistan joined U.S. forces to topple the Taliban government in Afghanistan after it continued to support the terrorist group al-Qaeda following the 9/11 attacks. Most U.S. military aid in the region goes toward supporting the fight against terrorism, as al-Qaeda and the Taliban continue to operate in Pakistani tribal regions. In early 2018, the Trump administration made drastic cuts in military aid to Pakistan, claiming the government isn't doing enough to fight terrorism and defeat the Taliban.

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xiquinhosilva // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Jordan

Foreign military financing requested allocation (FY2019): $350 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2018): $350 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2017): $470 million
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2016): $450 million

In early 2018, the U.S. and Jordan signed a $350 million Memorandum of Understanding, committing to foreign aid funding through 2022. Jordan shares a border with Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, making it an important buffer zone in the region and a major actor in the fight against terrorism. U.S. aid will also help Jordan secure its border as it continues efforts to manage the flow of refugees from Syria.
 

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Dawn Weber // US Air Force

#2. Egypt

Foreign military financing requested allocation (FY2019): $1.3 billion
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2018): $1.3 billion
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2017): $1.2 billion
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2016): $1.3 billion

The modern U.S.-Egyptian military alliance began in 1978 with the Camp David Accords, which ended hostilities between Egypt and Israel. Today, U.S. aid helps fund the Egyptian military's fight against extremist groups. But the relationship is tense as many lawmakers in the U.S. have expressed concerns over human rights violations in Egypt. Nonetheless, FMF has remained enormously high over multiple U.S administrations.  

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Escla // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Israel

Foreign military financing requested allocation (FY2019): $3.3 billion
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2018): $3.1 billion
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2017): $3.17 billion
Foreign military financing allocation (FY2016): $3.1 billion

Since Israel declared independence in 1948, the U.S. has been a steadfast supporter of the Jewish state. The alliance was solidified during the Cold War, as the U.S. saw Israel as a key buffer against Soviet influence in the Middle East. Today, Israel is the U.S.' closest ally in the region and receives far more military aid than any other country in the world. In 2016, the U.S. and Israel signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding, which secured $3.3 billion of FMF every year for the next decade. The aid is controversial, as activists and some U.S. lawmakers object to Israeli military actions in the Palestinian territories.

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