In a time of peace, when a country has a large diverse military paired with it is a drive to use it in various non-defense reasons, from threatening other countries to bow to your intent and to directly interfere in the affairs of other countries. This is particularly true for superpowers such as the United States.
I am not opposed to a nation having a solid military system to protect itself from undue aggression. As evidenced in times of disasters the military with its command and rapid response infrastructure to rapidly move and deploy aid as well as provide a framework of civil order.
What concerns me is when a peacetime military is unduly large. As evidenced by Somalia, Panama, Lebanon, Granada and the current Iraq war, politicians have a way of using the military in unjustified ways. We have too many who have not served in the military (or worse who during the Vietnam era used connections to have deferments or homeland service) being too quick to spill the blood of our youth.
I am also concerned with its size not only is a major expense in the national budget but it dominates the budget, and that education, roads, care of seniors, etc suffer significantly in order to pour more money into arms. I am concerned when it is so large that the defense industry is a major factor in the political process.
Since Gorbachev brought a unilateral conclusion to the Cold War, the United States military budget as a percent of the national budget and GDP has continued to grow. And if a large number on Capitol Hill have their way, even more of the national GDP will go into defense.
Draconian cuts are being proposed by Congressmen Paul Ryan and his colleagues across the board except for the military. This is an atrocity. The military needs to be cut even more so than civilian expenses. The current justifications for a strong military, for all other expenses to be slashed to the bone to keep the military strong while the industrial military complex that Eisenhower warned us about (and we have conveniently forgotten) become wealthy is not new. The current arguments and dynamics at play in the United States are the same rationale, arrogance and dynamics that existed in England in the mid 1700s against which this country rebelled. It is unfortunate that in so many ways that as a nation the United States is coming full circle and doing what its founding fathers rebelled against.