How the Obama administration is redefining the US military's strategic priorities with far-reaching consequences.
The United States' military expenditures today account for about 40 percent of the world total. In 2012, the US spent some $682bn on its military - an amount more than what was spent by the next 13 countries combined.
Now that the war in Iraq is over and the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan will be complete in 2014, the stage might therefore appear to be set for a decrease in US defence spending. Even in Washington DC, many have argued that the defence budget can be cut substantially and the resulting "peace dividend" could be diverted to more pressing domestic concerns, such as dealing with the nation's continuing economic problems.