If there is one refrain that officials at the Department of Defense repeat with dogged persistence, it is that our military is underfunded. DOD testimony to Congress brims over with references to budget cuts. This meme has spread to the point where many in the public think that we spend too little on defense. Republican presidential candidates certainly talk as if they believe it.
This is despite the fact that the Pentagon’s budget has nearly doubled since 9/11. Adjusted for inflation, we are spending substantially more on the military than the average Pentagon budget during the Cold War.
A related complaint is a purported lack of military personnel. As the saying goes, the military is “stretched thin” and has to “do more with less.” Accordingly, several candidates would increase the “end strength”(the congressionally authorized personnel numbers) of the various services.