WILLIAM D. HARTUNG and MANDY SMITHBERGER – There are at least 10 separate pots of money dedicated to fighting wars, preparing for yet more wars, and dealing with the consequences of wars already fought. So the next time a president, a general, a secretary of defense, or a hawkish member of Congress insists that the U.S. military is woefully underfunded, think twice. A careful look at U.S. defense expenditures offers a healthy corrective to such wildly inaccurate claims.
JON RAINWATER – When people hear “the Army is being cut to pre-World War II levels,” they are thinking about military forces as a whole. But the Air Force didn’t even exist in 1940. The Marine Corps has grown exponentially since that earlier era. After the post- 9/11 spike is trimmed, a force far larger than before World War II remains. But the bigger problem with the reduction narrative is that the proposed $496 billion for the Department of Defense represents historically sky-high spending.