Re-evaluating Defense Spending and Size Introduction Today's US military faces much criticism regarding readiness and size. Arguments have been put forth suggesting that not enough money is being spent on defense, and that our rate of deployment of forces is too slow. Throwing money at a problem will not appease the problems that face the US military. However, a careful re-evaluation will suggest that a smaller military is indeed the answer. A smaller, better equipped and trained military is possible with revisions in strategic planning, which will result in a decrease in military spending, all the while maintaining the US as the world's premier military.
Defense Spending Upon introduction to the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review, Defense Secretary Cohen drew attention to the post-Cold War decline in the proportion of GDP that the US allocates toward defense (Whittle, 2000). Since the publication, spending has increased on defense, however the US GDP has increased even greater, resulting in a decline in the defense GDP share.
As of now, we donate about 3% of our GDP toward defense, the smallest percentage sine 1940. When comparing current levels of defense spending to those of the 1980's, we averaged close to 6%, 3% higher than now (Aldinger, 2000).
Such comparisons have become central for increased spending. In other words, the notion is that because the US devoted a much greater share of its wealth to defense spending during the Cold War than it does today, we can afford to raise the defense budget. It is peculiar shortsightedness that compares today's US defense spending rate with that of the Cold War era while ignoring current comparisons between the US and its competitors. With respect towards military competitors, some spend a greater percentage of national wealth on defense, however their absolute level of spending is much...