How Domestic Trends in the U.S., China, and Iran Could Influence U.S. Navy Strategic Planning

By John Gordon IV; Robert W. Button et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
Strategic Trends in the United States

Summary

In discussions about defense affordability, the defense budget of the United States is frequently measured as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).1 This chapter argues that strategic trends in the United States will reduce the relevance of thinking about the DoD budget as a percentage of GDP. The DoD budget as a percentage of discretionary spending will, however, become more relevant. The inevitable graying of the U.S. population will increase nondiscretionary federal spending at rates that exceed economic growth. With greater pressure being exerted on discretionary spending as a whole, the DoD budget will be squeezed regardless of the DoD budget as a percentage of GDP. Structural factors will reinforce this trend. That said, defense spending will continue to rise as the U.S. economy expands, but it will likely fall as a percentage of GDP due to the need to devote an increasing amount of resources to other areas. Plausible or even likely “wild-card” factors may further pressure defense spending. In this chapter, we estimate when additional pressure will be applied to the DoD budget and identify the portion of the DoD budget most likely to be affected by limits on discretionary spending. To permit country comparisons at the end of this monograph, we supply additional material, including projections of per capita GDP and energy supply and demand.

1 The Heritage Foundation, for example, has argued that U.S. defense spending as a percentage of GDP is too low. See The Heritage Foundation, Federal Revenue and Spending: A Book of Charts, undated.

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How Domestic Trends in the U.S., China, and Iran Could Influence U.S. Navy Strategic Planning
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures ix
  • Tables xi
  • Summary xiii
  • Abbreviations xxvii
  • Chapter One - Introduction and Objectives 1
  • Chapter Two - Strategic Trends in the United States 5
  • Chapter Three - The United States’ near Abroad 29
  • Chapter Four - Strategic Trends in the People’s Republic of China 37
  • Chapter Five - China’s near Abroad 87
  • Chapter Six - Strategic Trends in Iran 97
  • Chapter Seven - Iran’s near Abroad 125
  • Chapter Eight - Japan’s near Abroad 133
  • Chapter Nine - Russia’s near Abroad 143
  • Chapter Ten - Conclusions 159
  • Appendix A - Comparisons 171
  • Appendix B - China’s Coal Future 177
  • Bibliography 191
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