It is sad that leaders in the USA do not understand how important education to national security. Comparison scores declined for decades last century. Some improvement can be seen this century, but USA scores still fall shamefully behind other countries.
1995 results: "...tests showed U.S. fourth-graders performing poorly, middle school students worse. and high school students are unable to compete. By the same criteria used to say we were "average" in elementary school, "we appear to be "near the bottom" at the high school level. source
2003 comparison of more than 250,000 15-year old students from 41 countries. USA Ranks: Math: 27th, Reading: 18th, Science: 22nd. source
2010 Ranks show minor improvement, but when considering the wealth and resources available in the USA, these scores still show a sad disregard for education in the USA: Math: 25th, Reading: 14th, Science: 17th.
This does not address the unavailability of higher education for the majority of Americans who cannot afford $100,000+ for a basic college education and double that for an advanced degree. Government loans and long-term debt or bankruptcy is not the answer, but the only alternative for many young people.
Until Education is as high a priority as Defense, no amount of bombs/guns will protect us from the defenselessness of technological and intellectual inferiority.