The period from 1980 to 1985 marked the largest peacetime military build-up in United States history. During this period, defense appropriations increased approximately 50 percent in real terms. The cost of defense was not an issue; instead, debates on national security concentrated primarily on external factors: the size and nature of the Soviet threat, the merits of a maritime strategy versus a coalition defense strategy, and the viability of a strategy to fight prolonged nuclear conflicts.

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