The political debate on the best ways of addressing the national debt will intensify as we see the results later this month from the Congressional Super Committee and the 2012 election draws closer. If the Super Committee fails to produce a recommendation that passes Congress on an up or down vote, no filibusters or amendments allowed, this will be a trigger producing automatic cuts of 1.2 trillion dollars in federal defense and domestic spending over the next ten years. (Entitlement programs such as social security, medicare and medicaid will not be subject to these cuts.)
Even if the automatic spending cuts are not triggered, future budget deals are likely to propose some substantial cuts in defense spending. To put the current level of U.S. Defense spending into context, here is data from the the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) database regarding world-wide 2009 defense spending:
So the United States, which is annually spending some $2,000 for every man, woman and child in our country on defense, spends more in total than the next 19 largest spending nations combined.
Here is a graph on 2010 defense spending, again based on SIPRI data, that shows the defense spending for the top seven defense spending nations in the world: