Even before the baby boom generation retires and begins using expensive Social Security and medical programs, the Department of Defense is sorely underfunded, according to a report from The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank.
Pentagon needs for everything from missile defense to combat operations, from procurement of weapons systems to personnel costs, require spending at a minimum something like the equivalent of 4 percent of gross domestic product, according to the 32-page report.
But funding for the military forces lags far behind that level at 3.2 percent, according to Heritage defense experts.
"Congress would do well ... to sustain national defense budgets at 4 percent of GDP," the report recommends.
It is titled "Four Percent for Freedom: The Need to Invest More in Defense" and was published last week by the foundation.