"Numbers alone tell much of the story: we are now spending 50% more (even excluding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) than we did on 9/11. We are spending more on the military than we did during the Cold War, when U.S. and NATO troops stared across Germany's Fulda Gap at a real super-power foe with real tanks and thousands of nuclear weapons aimed at U.S. cities."
"In January, Gates proposed cutting $78 billion from Pentagon accounts over five years. President Obama trumped that April 13, calling for $400 billion in cuts by 2023. He offered no specifics beyond saying he and Gates would lead a "fundamental review of America's missions, capabilities and our role in a changing world." Even some Republicans have begun to acknowledge that the Pentagon needs to do its part in the war on debt. "I served in two administrations that practiced and validated the policy of peace through strength," said Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels in February. "But if our nation goes over a financial Niagara, we won't have much strength, and eventually, we won't have peace."
"But $1 trillion in cuts wouldn't really be as drastic as it sounds — or as the military's no-surrender defenders insist. Such a trim would still leave the Pentagon fatter than it was before 9/11. Besides, there are vast depots of weapons that are ready for the surplus pile. The number of aircraft carriers could be cut from 11 to eight, and perhaps all could be scuttled in favor of Barnett's drone carriers. The annual purchase of two $3 billion attack submarines to maintain a 48-sub fleet as far as the periscope can see also could be scaled back. The $383 billion F-35 program really isn't required when U.S. warplanes remain the world's best and can be retooled with new engines and electronics to keep them that way. Reagan-era missile defenses and the nuclear arsenal are largely Cold War relics with little relevance today. Altogether, Congress could save close to $500 billion by smartly scaling back procurement over the next decade."
"Of course, by spreading its carriers around, the Navy makes them harder to kill — but not because it's reducing their exposure to hurricanes or terrorists. Dispersion makes carriers harder to kill because more states become invested in their future. "It's a disease that infects the entire defense budget," says Gordon Adams, who oversaw Pentagon spending during the Clinton Administration. "We spend about a third of the defense budget not for national-security reasons but because it's in someone's district or state."