WHY IT MATTERS: Issues at stake in election - Article Photos 38/40

FILE - In this this May 10, 2012 file photo, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey take part in a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, on the defense budget. Is the U.S. spending enough money on defense, and is it spending it in the right ways? In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks the money spigot was turned wide open, pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and expanding the armed forces. Now that’s changing, and an important issue in the election is whether budget cuts have gone too far. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)