Now that the Iraqi war is over and that the US is withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, some misguided (and some bad-intentioned) people are calling on the US to cut its defense budget deeply on the false grounds that the US is withdrawing from the Hindukush.
But they are completely wrong. Withdrawal from Afghanistan is NOT a justification for cutting the (base) defense budget (as opposed to the OCO/GWOT supplemental budget, which pays solely for the Afghan war).
The base defense budget pays for the day-to-day maintenance, and the equipping of, the US military. It pays for the troops’ salaries and benefits, their training, housing, HC programs, base and equipment maintenance, and the development and acquisition of new equipment for them.
Any cutbacks in it – but especially deep ones – reduce the amount of money available to do all of these things and thus weaken the military. (Deep defense cuts would weaken the military SEVERELY.)
The US will always be confronting some threats in this dangerous world, and will always need to keep up its guard. And the world is especially dangerous now, with Russia and China arming en masse, with North Korea testing, and Iran developing, nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and with terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah threatening American citizens around the world. Cyber and piracy threats make this world all the more dangerous.
No, the US cannot afford to ever let its guard down by cutting defense deeply. It should never do so. It has already made that mistake several times. This foolish error must not be repeated ever again.