If Gates gets away with his sweeping budget cuts in Defense spending, I'll be really happy. Cutting the F-22? Cutting white-knight, pie in the sky projects like the Future Combat Systems? Cutting missile defense spending? That's amazing. It'll be even more amazing if this can survive Congress.
Unfortunately, Defense spending is still going up, because spending on unconventional wars is rising. Obviously some of this is necessary for Afghanistan and Iraq. But how much of that reflects the conflicts America will get into after these wind down? One school of thought suggests that American strategic interests will demand future interventions in failing states to curb instability and terror. This is no doubt what will actually happen.
Alternatively, people could set 'Defense Priorities' with actual resources in mind. We could say that sending soldiers into every last rotten country around the globe doesn't represent an affordable goal. We could say that Europe and South Korea can shoulder their own defense needs on their own, instead of piggy-backing on American tanks. They also depend on American pharma research because they've destroyed their own industry with price controls, and need to be gifted iPods because their firms are too lazy and their consumers too complacent to develop technology.
Anyway, back to the point: Serious draw-downs in military spending will only happen when the last neoconservative is strangled with the entrails of the last humanitarian hawk.