This gargantuan figure, which works out to $1.6 trillion out of an estimated $3 trillion budget (for fiscal year 2011), includes interest payments for prior wars and standing army, veterans benefits and health care, non-DOD military spending, "black box" intelligence agency funding, supplemental funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the $708 billion Pentagon budget request.
In the next budget and future ones, is this where you want your money to go? The opportunity costs of spending vast amounts of money on unneeded military expenditures, more than 10 times the amount of the next highest spender (China at $130 billion) is a wicked enormity, a barbarity of our time and doing. The money which will be spent next year on replacing helicopters ($4.8 billion) would go a long way to fully fund student loans.
Which is it going to be: fund students or buy helicopters employed in dubious use in again killing nearly 600 Afghan civilians?