Assuming that the country is politically independent, but that a reasonable level of defense has to be kept for the sake of parity with potentially hostile neighbors, a large slice of the national cake is already accounted for in terms of defense salaries and equipment. Could that slice be reduced in size. In terms both of nuclear and conventional arms, the current unfreezing of relations between East and West is partly based on internal pressures for economies in favor of more positive priorities.
Similarly, all countries have labor-intensive annual commitments where the main services are nationally funded or subsidized; the civil service, the police and customs forces, the health service, education, roads, railways and airlines. All have the potential for rationalization, perhaps privatization, with consequent economies.
Basic policy must therefore be considered. If a country follows the socialist line, then all these, and many others, including housing and a comprehensive social security system, are the government's responsibility. If not, as many as possible of these services will be hived off to the private sector. For the purposes of this essay, let us assume that the country concerned is democratic, and that it encourages free enterprise, self-help and a business-like efficiency, and that it means to hold its own in the modern world.
To do so, it will need to achieve the following; economic development and the full exploitation of natural resources; a favorable balance of trade with, consequently, a strong currency; high interest rates if overseas money is to be attracted but if possible without prejudice to exports; the reduction or abolition of inflation implying some kind of wages policy in both public and private sectors, together with legislative control over the power of the trades unions.