I can't do much more than to quote from what Rep. Frank said. I think he hit the nail on the head:
“The biggest single chunk of deficit reduction must come from scaling back our enormous military expenditures from where they now are to where our legitimate needs are,” Frank said.
“There is no way at all to do a socially responsible deficit-reduction plan — no way to do a long-term deficit reduction [plan] which preserves our ability to protect the quality of life here in this country, and elsewhere in the world — without very substantial reductions in military spending.”
Frank was quick to note the importance of maintaining a powerful military to protect U.S. interests, weaker allies and the homeland — but with limitations.
“I do want the U.S. Air Force to be the largest air force in the world,” he said. “But I don’t think the U.S. Navy has to be the second largest air force in the world for us to be safe. I’d be happy if … the Navy was tied for fourth.”
The threat of terrorism, he argued, is nothing like that posed by Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
“It is not an existential threat to the United States,” he said. “You don’t defeat terrorism with nuclear submarines. I wish you did, because we have them and they don’t. It would be over.”
The outspoken Massachusetts liberal also urged the elimination of substantial U.S. forces in Europe, arguing that the political climate requiring those troops is long gone.
“Harry Truman, I think, did a great thing in 1949 when he went to the aid of a beleaguered, poor, war-broken Western and Central Europe threatened by Stalin,” Frank said. “Europe’s no longer weak and poor; Stalin is fortunately long dead and his successors crumbled; the only thing that hasn’t changed is America continues to subsidize heavily the defense of the wealthy nations of Western Europe against non-existent threats.”