A recent report by Military Times found that the defense budget has been increasing across the board since 2001, leading critics to question the Pentagon's claims that military and civilian personnel are the main cause of the spike in military spending.

According to the report, which used documents compiled by the Department of Defense and the White House, overall military spending increased 85 percent over the 11-year period, compared to the 78 percent increase of military and civilian personnel cost. When considering overseas operations, the total military budget increase is 104 percent.

Overall, the military and civilian personnel budget was only 24 percent of Pentagon spending in 2012, increasing by only 0.03 percent since 2001. The news source noted that this is a historically low percentage. For instance, military and civilian personnel accounted for more than 30 percent of the Pentagon's budget in 1991.

This report comes at a time when pay and allowances for active-duty troops are at their most vulnerable. According to The Wall Street Journal, top military officials have been considering making cuts to salaries, housing allowances and health care benefits as a way to reduce the defense spending budget. 

"What we have asked these young men and women to do over the last 10 years, we can't pay them enough," Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said at a recent press conference, as quoted by the news source. "Having said that, we also have an institution to manage."