At the height of the Cold War, Rev. Ulises Torres, a political exile from the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, was asked when you know if you have a military government. He answered: "Look at your national budget." Then, the US military budget, not counting secret intelligence spending, was $221.1 billion (just over $500 billion in today's dollars.)
Today, excluding veterans' benefits and interest for past wars, US military spending is $711 billion. It consumes 60 percent of US discretionary spending, compared to 6 percent for education and 1 percent for transportation. The Pentagon budget equals the combined total of the world's next 14 greatest military spenders and is four times greater than the combined spending of its most likely adversaries, including China and Russia. Projected US military spending over the next decade is $5.77 trillion in 2013 dollars, a number that is almost beyond comprehension.