The US Armed Forces Spends More Cleaning Rust Than Canada Does On Its Entire Military

August 5, 2011

We don't want to pick on other militaries. Any member of a nation's military is a patriot willing to sacrifice their life for the lives of their fellow citizens, and that's something that deserves respect. That said, some militaries are just...bigger than others, and nowhere is this truer than the US.

For some perspective, we spend $22 billion cleaning off rust from our various ships, planes, and tanks. That's actually a bit more than Canada spends on its entire military force. While Canucks with Chinooks are a terrifying force (just ask the Germans in WWI), apparently they're also thrifty. Either that or they do more with less.

Why do we spend so much? Part of it just the sheer bulk of the armed forces: we've got a lot, and we mean a lot, of tanks, planes, and ships. They're constantly being moved around, deployed, retrofitted, and generally see a lot of abuse, which means rust.

Then there's, well, the sheer incompetence of some builders. Just ask anybody dealing with the debacle that is the USS Independence, which had to go into drydock for "aggressive corrosion" less than a year after it was launched. Still, it kind of says something that our repair budget dwarfs what other countries spend on, well, everything. USA! USA!

Photo: Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images