The Chinese aren't coy about their long-term plans. Beijing last year announced its army will move "from regional defense to trans-regional mobility," including "long-distance maneuvers, rapid assaults and special operations." Its air force will expand "its capabilities in the areas of air strike, air and missile defense, early warning and reconnaissance, and strategic projection."
China now spends an estimated 4.5 percent of its $2.5 trillion GDP on defense (the United States spends 3.9 percent). To continue protecting our interests, we'll need to devote at least 4 percent of our GDP to defense. That's more than we've spent since 1995. But it's been a while since we faced a rising threat like the one China poses today. It's a serious military threat that demands serious military spending.