Military budgets are only one gauge of military power. A given financial commitment may be adequate or inadequate depending on the number and capability of a nation’s adversaries, how well it spends its investment, and what it seeks to accomplish, among other factors. Nevertheless, trends in military spending do reveal something about a country’s capacity for coercion. The following charts present historical trends in U.S. military spending and analyze the forces that may drive it lower.
These charts draw on data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Both data sets include spending on overseas contingency operations as well as defense. This distinguishes them from data used in the U.S. budget, which separate defense spending from spending on overseas operations
- New poll: Most Americans want Congress to cut obscene military budget (examiner.com)
- Study: Military Spending Cuts Won’t Harm The Ecomomy (thinkprogress.org)