It already consumes more money than the next dozen or so largest militaries on Earth but it's not enough, not nearly enough.
According to the rightwing Heritage Foundation, the Pentagon needs mo money, a lot more.
The consistent decline in funding and the consequent shrinking of the force are putting it under significant pressure. Essential maintenance is being deferred; fewer units (mostly the Navy’s platforms and the Special Operations Forces community) are being cycled through operational deployments more often and for longer periods; and old equipment is being extended while programmed replacements are problematic. The cumulative effect of such factors has resulted in a U.S. military that is marginally able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests.
It's an interesting enough, albeit predictable, report. It's based on America's ability to fight two regional wars simultaneously and has a questionable "All the King's Horses and All the King's Men" approach.
When it comes to American military preparedness, however, I prefer the Maserati analogy offered by Janine Davidson, senior fellow at Defense in Depth.
Too often, planners and policymakers apply this same sort of thinking to the U.S. military. They think that the primary—indeed, the only—mission of the United States’ armed forces is to “fight and win the nation’s wars.” These wars, so often assumed to be quick, high-tech and decisive conflicts waged against a peer competitor, demand the most expensive force possible, armed with the most “exquisite” platforms that the nation can produce. When not called on to fight these decisive conflicts, the military, like the Maserati, should be preserved and protected in its enclosed garage.
There are two problems here. The first is that the vast majority of contingencies the U.S. military is called on to perform are not quick, decisive, one-versus-one “football games” where one side wins, the other loses, and they both pack up and go home. Instead, the United States most typically deploys its forces for peacekeeping, stability operations, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, mass atrocity prevention, drug interdiction, and more. U.S. foreign policy demands a wide range of options and mission sets; it’s the military that makes these happen.
Indeed the F-35 is a military Maserati. It's designed to do a very narrow range of things better than others (although even that is in doubt today) but it sacrifices an incredible degree of capability for the sake of stealth cloaking. The Maserati is great but not when you need to move a cord of firewood.
There's a price to be paid for this sort of extravagance. In the graphic above you can see the size of China's military expenditure contrasted with America's. What that graph won't show you is how much more bang China gets for its military buck - and it's a lot.
Canada may desperately want to be admitted to America's entourage, its posse, but with that comes pressure to field Maseratis when we really need those Ford F-150 pickups. America can, and will, squander hundreds of billions of dollars on its supercar military. Canada, with our defence budget choked almost into unconsciousness by Stephen Harper, can't afford to go that route.