Notice that annual spending was fairly level throughout the height of the Cold War and Vietnam (1950-1975). And that the post Cold War reductions were relatively small compared to the peak coinciding with the Gulf War.
NYT Misses Elephant in the Room: Defense Service Contractors.
"In FY2010 alone, DoD service contractors cost taxpayers more than $200
billion—$50 billion more than the cost of all uniformed personnel."