Secretary of Defense Robert Gates raised the issue of what are we spending in order to have a powerful military force, and are we focusing on real issues. He told a Kansas audience that given economic problems, and an inflation rate of about 2%, “It is highly unlikely that we will achieve the real growth rates necessary in order to sustain the current force structure.” He went on to pinpoint getting rid of redundant bases or top heavy command structures and appeared to indicate reducing minor costs would deal with the real issue of our military. Since 1950, the only president who reduced military spending in a significant manner was Dwight Eisenhower, the famous general of WWII. Eisenhower understood any military organization can readily be reduced by a factor of 15% without impairing any military ability.
The real issues in 2010 are: does the US need a massive jet plane force? Does the US need aircraft carriers or can some be eliminated? And, so on. Which current branches of the military can be dramatically reduced without impairing military ability is the question?