U.S. defense spending as a percentage of gross domestic product has varied significantly over the years. Outspending the Soviet Union during the Cold War and spending for the global war on terror created significant upswings. The next U.S. Congress and president will have to continue to address changing technology and national security needs, but one wonders with budget pressures elsewhere what balance can be struck.
Defense dollars among developed countries
Of major developed nations, the U.S. and Russia spend the largest share of their GDP on the military. In absolute dollar terms, the U.S. spends roughly $700 billion, while the European Union and China spend around $260 billion and $220 billion, respectively.