Today, America spends more on defense than at any time since the end of World War II, based on the Pentagon's own official budget data. The previous high point in post-World War II defense spending was 1952 - during the Korean War - at $589 billion in today's dollars. The Pentagon's budget request for the current fiscal year totals $670 billion, or a substantial 14 percent above the previous high water mark.
U.S. defense spending is now also larger than the rest of the world - combined. The CIA's 2007 Word Fact Book estimates all other nations to spend about $400 billion on defense. That amount is for not just our potential opponents, whoever they might be; that's the entire rest of the world.
We are told we must worry about China and Russia and prepare against them . . . with defense budgets of just $81 billion and $21 billion, respectively, according to the CIA. . . .
Today, we have the smallest defense inventory since 1946. For example, with a spending level considerably higher than in 1985 when the Cold War raged and after Ronald Reagan increased the Defense Department's budget, we have now 10 active Army divisions, not the 17 we had in 1985; less than 300 naval combatants - compared to 542 in 1985, and we have just over 12 active Air Force tactical air wings, not 25.
The authors from the veterans of the fighter establishment of the U.S. Air Force, go ont to argue the F-22 as a case in point of overspending, for a variety of reasons, some sensible and some of which I disagree with them upon.
I do agree, however, that we can be smarter in spending our defense dollars.