The US military has essentially the same size, structure and capabilities as it did a decade ago but costs 35 per cent more, a public policy think tank has disclosed in an analysis of the 2012 defence budget.
The Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments' report also said the Defence Department had spent some $46bn (£28.5bn) over the past decade developing weapons systems that were ultimately never used, either due to cost overruns or technical challenges.
"This was the opportunity of the decade to recapitalise and modernise the military's equipment, and that has been squandered," said Todd Harrison, who wrote the report. "We're looking at the prospect of a declining defence budget over the next decade and we're not going to have the opportunity to do that again."
With the US facing trillion-dollar budget deficits, President Obama has asked the Defence Department to cut some $400bn in spending over the next dozen years.