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September 30, 2011

Military Expenditures for Marketing, Entertainment, and Promotion

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.” ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

While my girlfriend's friends stayed with us for a few days, they became friendly with a pair of marines that were also visiting the area. The two chaps seemed friendly enough, and after talking with them for awhile, it came out that while they were considered "active duty" Marines, they were really part of a special, hand picked platoon, whose active duty was traveling around the world putting on various military demonstrations in order to promote the United States Marine Corps.

"You ever see those Marine commercials where a whole group of us are marching around in our uniforms spinning guns and what not? Yea, that's us."

And it wasn't just these two Marines, there was a whole barrack of them selected to be nothing but demonstrators for a military marketing campaign. They were members of the Silent Drill Platoon, also called the "Marching 24," a group organized for the purpose of exemplifying the "discipline and skills" of the Marine Corps. The guys recounted what a fun time they had riding segways around the Eiffel Tower on their trip to Paris, all on the taxpayers dime. One of them even shared his hopes for the future: to leave the Silent Drill Platoon and get to the killing part of his job.

For fiscal year 2011, the total budget for defense is estimated to be around $719 billion. That does not include the cost of veterans’ care, which totals at least another $124 billion. By comparison, no other nation in the world spends more than $110 billion on defense.

The exact money figures are difficult to locate for how much the U.S. military spends on marketing, entertainment, and promotional efforts - from commercials, to air shows and marches, to this platoon of actors that travel the world showing off U.S. military synchronization skills. So if anyone out there has information for how much of the military budget is allocated toward advertising, please pass it along. Thank you.