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In Search of Enough Security

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    In Search of Enough Security

    The 2001 9/11 attack delivered a psychological shock to the United States from we have yet to recover. We felt secure before that day. Afterwards, we felt insecure. Much of what we have done since then has been to recapture that lost sense of security.

    Among other things, military spending has more than doubled. The actual Defense Department baseline budget has gone from $308 billion in 2001 to $534 billion this coming year, but to that number has to be added another $130 billion for “overseas contingency operations,” and another $350 or so billion for defense-related expenditures not in the DOD budget, and you end up with a cool trillion in real military spending.

    We outspend the entire rest of the world combined. Chop out our major allies (UK, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Australia, Canada, and Israel) and we out-spend the rest of the world over one and a half times. China is in the midst of a major build-up. We outspend them by between seven and nine times.

    Yet we do not feel secure.

    Consider the case of the navy. We have actually reduced the size of the navy in the last ten years. As Secretary of Defense Gates observed last year, “As much as the U.S. Navy has shrunk since the end of the Cold War, for example, in terms of tonnage, its battle fleet is still larger than the next 13 navies combined—and 11 of those 13 navies are U.S. allies or partners.”

    Consider the case of carriers. Our NATO ...


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