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Does U.S. spend too much on defense? You say no, scholars say yes

President Barack Obama’s recently released budget proposal calls for a severe reduction in Army troops, which would result in the lowest levels since 1940. Some Air Force attack jets would be eliminated, along with other military cuts.

Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain said that would “weaken our nation’s security while the threats we face around the world are becoming more dangerous and complex.”

But would it? The Washington Post talked to some scholars from the Teaching, Research and International Policy project at William & Mary to try to get some additional insight on defense spending.

As it turns out, they have a very different view on it, compared to a Gallup poll asking Americans about defense spending.

In short, 75 percent of International Relations scholars say we spend “too much” on defense. Five percent said we spend “too little.” By contrast, 28 percent of Americans (OK, just the ones who were polled), say the U.S. doesn’t spend enough on defense.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown from the Washington Post:

And they also say McCain and Graham aren’t really painting an accurate picture of the future:

We asked scholars the very question Sens. McCain and Graham raised: What effect, if any, would the proposed cuts to the defense budget have on the national security of the United States? A majority of scholars believe the newly proposed budget will have no effect, while a quarter believe it will actually increase U.S. national security. More than 80 percent of IR scholars disagree with McCain and Graham’s claim that the Hagel budget would harm the security of the United States.

Via Washington Post