I agree. But, what are getting for the $600 billion? If spending that much money represents pre WWII levels what are we paying for.
And: "Our procurement system is corrupt and extremely inefficient, particularly for new weapons." All govt. bureaucracies are corrupt and bloated. The Pentagon is another bureaucracy.
The important point, strategically, is that their $135B may be enough to give them strategic parity in less than a decade as they can buy much more bang for their buck than we can with 4x bucks.
A lot more than the $799 Billion a year we spend on this:
We get a committed military that will go anywhere and do anything we ask, up to and including their very lives.
Our military backs up our world political and economic power, and without it, we are paper tiger. Russia senses our military weakness, and so does China. It is NO SECRET that they are currently attempting to remove the US Dollar as the World's Reserve Currency. If that happens, our economy will literally implode.
We get a military that will respond to domestic (i.e. hurricanes, tornadoes) and worldwide (i.e. Tsunamis, earthquakes) disasters.
It the DoD budget big? Yeah, it is. It is also now less than 4% GDP, a near historic low.
I get your frustration, and I understand there is waste and inefficiency. Not every Defense Dollar is sacred. But the military has been the ONLY Federal agency cut in the last 5 years in real terms.
John McCain said this to Hagel this morning:
"I must say your timing is exquisite. Coming over here with a budget when the world is probably more unsettled since the end of World War II. The invasion of Crimea, Iran negotiations collapsed, China more aggressive in the South China Sea, North Korea fired more missiles in the last few days, Syria turning into a regional conflict. You've come here with a budget that constrains us in a way that's unprecedented."
I don't know what is going to happen in the next 980 days left of Obama, but I know we are in serious, serious trouble. This will not end well.
By its own public count, the U.S. has 598 military facilities in 40 countries, along with the 4,461 bases in the U.S. and U.S. territories. http://theweek.com/article/index/257406/what-would-a-us-russia-war-look-like