Militarism is the belief or the desire of a government or a people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests. Examples of militarist states include North Korea, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, as well as most Imperial states including the United States of America. It may also imply the glorification of the military and of the ideals of a professional military class and the predominance of the armed forces in the administration or policy of the state. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, political and military leaders reformed the U.S. federal government to establish a stronger central government than had ever previously existed for the purpose of enabling the nation to pursue an imperial policy in the Pacific and in the Caribbean, and economic militarism to support the development of the new industrial economy.
The Cold War resulted in serious, permanent military buildups. Dwight D. Eisenhower, a retired top military commander elected as a civilian President, warned, as he was leaving office, of the development of a military-industrial complex. In the Cold War, there emerged many civilian academics and industrial researchers, such as Henry Kissinger and Herman Kahn, who had significant input into the use of military force.
The direct Military budget of the United States for 2008 was $740,800,000,000, but total military-related spending on a yearly basis including costs accrued from previous wars was estimated to be $1,300,000,000,000 for the 2015 budget. Arguably, intelligence gathering can also be considered a war-related expense which would enlarge the portion of the Federal budget spent on war further. By some estimates 50 percent or more of the United States Federal budget is war-related.