In 2008, the United States spent $607 billion on our military. Far more than any other country as British author David McCandless illustrates in the graphic to the right. But as McCandless goes on to show in the rest of this Datablog post, focusing on spending totals alone doe not provide an accurate context to judge U.S. military spending by. The U.S. is a wealthy country with a larger Gross Domestic Product (GDP) than Japan, Germany, and China combined. McCandless compensated for this fact and you can see the result after the jump:
At 4% of GDP U.S. spending on defense is tied for 8th world wide. And in a historical context it is far below average. Throughout the 1960s the U.S. spent almost 9% of GDP on defense and even during President Ronald Reagan’s defense build up, military spending topped out at 6%. Considering that the U.S. is actively fighting two wars, if anything this amount is too low. Heritage fellow Mackenzie Eaglen details how President Barack Obama’s most recent budget proposals fail to protect the core defense budget here.