$680 billion, guess what that number is. That is the department of defense budget for 2010. And $130 billion that goes to "overseas contingency operations." That is up 3% from the year before. Now, you may think that a 3% increase in 1 year is not that much growth, however we are suppose to be coming out of a war, so spending should be going down, not up.
We are a powerful nation, there is no denying that regardless of what you want to think. And we have interests all around the world and a morale code (I would like to think at least) that says we must stand up against evil. However, can we not find some sort of middle ground? Can we not find a way to maintain and powerful military without blowing hundreds of billions of dollars every year on it? Of course we can. Military operations are not the same now as they were 40 years ago. We no longer need huge armies with massive guns. We need precision weapons and small strike forces.
Perfect example, the F-117. They built 64 of them total, and only lost 1 ever. During the gulf war (the first one), these jets only made up 2.5% of our entire Air Force roster, yet took out over 40% of the strategic targets in the war and flew over 6,900 combat hours, and didn't lose a single one. Their first (and only loss) occurred in 1999, 18 years after first taking flight. They retired in 2008 after 25 year of service. That's how it should be done, high quality, high accuracy, low volume, low losses. We need to focus on quality, not quantity. That puts less american soldiers in danger, puts more money per soldier (since there are less to spread the money over) for better equipment and protection, and saves money so that it can be spent on a better home for them to come back to (since who wants to fight in a desert for 8 years to come home to a recession with 10%+ unemployment).
To move forward with this, we would need to focus the budget more on Research and Development, especially in the unmanned and remote controlled departments. That will allow us to (over time) pull money out of the operations and personnel, and to pull people out of combat.
That covers the at home budget aspect, but there is also the need to do less. We don't need troops stationed all over the world all the time. We don't still need troops in Japan to protect them from communists. I don't think Germany is about to go 4th reich on anyone here soon. Cutting our scope will vastly cut costs, since not as many weapons need to be produced, not as many people need to be transported and trained and stationed and everything else that goes with it. And if someone if fool hardy enough to try to attack, we need a system based on reactive prevention, not total prevention. In other words, to shoot a missile down over the ocean, not prevent it from launching in the first place (obviously this would be different in nuclear situations). Since when an enemy launches a missile, it is 100% an act of war, no questions, if they are "planning" to launch a missile, then they can deny it and call the evidence planted and annoying stuff like that. Then you strike back (with small precision strike forces, like mentioned earlier).
Save money, save lives, what's not to like?