The Project on Defense Alternatives compiled material as well as critical analysis and opinion from 30 analysts and policy centers, representing the skeptical end of the spectrum.
The rise in US defense spending since 1998 has no precedent in all the years since the Korean war. It most readily compares with two earlier, but lesser spending surges: the 1958-1968 surge of 43% and the 1975-1985 surge of 57%. The post-Cold War retrenchment of the US military reached its limit in 1998 with DoD’s budget settling at an ebb point of $361.5 billion (2010 USD). If we treat the 1998 budget level as a “baseline” and project it forward to 2010 (adjusting for inflation), we find that the total amount of funds that have been given to DoD above this level during the years 1999-2010 is $2.15 trillion (in 2010 dollars). This figure constitutes what we call the post-1998 spending surge. (All told, DoD budget authority for the
period was $6.5 trillion in 2010 dollars).