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How much does U.S. military spend on advertising?

Tweet: The US military spends $18 billion a year on advertisements (propaganda).
Verdict: Mostly False

By Leteefa Al Darei
Zayed University Journalism Student

While the U.S. government does spend a lot of money on military recruitment advertising, it falls far short of the figure cited in this tweet.

According to the most recent information, the United States spends only $1 billion per year on military marketing, far less than the $18 billion figure presented by InjusticeFacts.

The figure comes from testimony from Jason E. Klein, the president and CEO of the newspaper national network, published in October 2011.

“The U.S. government spends roughly $1 billion per year on print, broadcast and digital media advertising,” he said.

The US military spends 90 percent of its advertising budget on national media and only 10 percent on local media, Klein said. The marketing aims to recruit new personnel for careers in the military, not specifically to engender support for the military. (However, the marketing could have the effect of creating support for the armed forces.)

The number spent on military marketing has risen steadily throughout the 2000s.

James N. Dertouzos researched The Cost-Effectiveness of Military Advertising, and found that the U.S. military spent about $600 million in 2007.

“The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps together spent more than 
$600 million on recruiting advertising in 2007, a 150 percent 
increase over that spent in 1999,” James N. Dertouzos wrote.

In addition, the word “propaganda” is subjective. While some may agree with this term, others would object to labeling any marketing or persuasive messaging as “propaganda.”

Our verdict

Injustice Facts said, “The US military spends $18 billion a year on advertising,” based on no official source to support their claim.

But official records do not support this statement. Although it has increased greatly in the 2000s, the U.S. military spending on advertising had never reached $18 billion a year.

Also, “propaganda” is a subjective term.

Therefore, we rate this tweet Mostly False.

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