US Surplus Military Gear

The US Department of Defense has a specific program to provide: "surplus DoD military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies for use in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations, and to enhance officer safety" (Excess Property Program, or 1033 Program). This equipment can account for things like planes and helicopters,  grenade launchers and assault rifles.

Thanks to a series of FOIA requests, The New York Times has collected data on the states that received surplus military gear through the program since 2006. We've grouped this data by State and by year, created rankings and averages, added information on crime and police officers killed in each state...and then imported it in Silk.

As usual, you can use Silk's powerful visualization and query engine to easily:

  • Search for facts on a specific State, year or State and year combination.
  • Create maps and charts to visualize, explore and share interesting facts from the database. All it takes is a few clicks to choose a type of graph and decide which variables to plot, which filters to apply and how to sort the data. Click "Explore" next to the following visualizations to customize them as you wish.
*Note that "Acquisition Cost" refers to the value of the items, not to the actual price paid by each county. Local agencies receive this gear for free, with the exclusion of shipping costs. For information on all the sources used, click here.

Yearly trend of total value of received gear, per State

Use the drop-down menu to select a specific State

Total value of received items (2006 - 2014): State ranking

State ranking of value of items received per year

National trend: total value of items received by all counties, per year

Notice that the data for 2014 doesn't cover the whole year.

States with most expensive military gear

Comparing ranks

For an easier comparison between variables in different scales, like dollars and crime rate, the data includes also State rankings for most of the variables. This should visually allow for some basics insights that can be further investigated by looking at the actual raw values. A note about the ranking: lower values mean lower absolute numbers. So a state that scores 1 in, for example Violent Crime Rate (Rank), has the lowest value for violent crime rate.

Comparing ranks: acquisition costs per inhabitant and violent crime rate

2013 acquisition costs and police officers killed or assaulted in  2012, State rankings

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About this site

This site was created with Silk, a platform for easily structuring information, so that it can be organized, queried, visualized and shared in a few clicks. The Silk team built this as a demonstration project, here you can see all the data sources used, and here you can find the actual dataset imported to create this Silk. It is released under CC-BY SA 4.0, so start playing and use it for your own Silk!

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