We support maintaining U.S. defense expenditures at around 3% of GDP, except during periods of significant military conflicts.
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We believe that America needs to maintain a military infrastructure sufficient to defend our direct national interests and to fulfill our obligations for mutual defense of our allies.
This will require that the U.S. remain the most powerful nation, militarily, for the foreseeable future. This suggests that defense spending will run about 3% of U.S. GDP during periods without a major conflict. For context, China spends about 1.75% of its GDP on military expenditures. Russia spends about 4.3% of its GDP on its military, but its GDP is only about 7% that of the U.S.
Despite the position outlined above, we cannot be the world’s police and our allies need to take on a bigger role in providing for our mutual defense. They are unlikely to do that unless we make it clear that we do not intend to bear this burden largely alone, as we did throughout much of the Cold War.