As we saw during Tuesday's vice presidential debate, it has become a political applause line to lament the decline of the U.S. military. But even in this era of "post-truth" politics, the facts overwhelmingly prove otherwise.
The U.S. defense budget stands at almost $600 billion a year, more than the next seven countries combined. The permanent reality of robust military spending in the U.S. and around the globe makes aerospace/defense one of the best long-term investment opportunities.
The key is to pinpoint the highest-quality defense firms, especially companies that provide a "value-added" technological edge that generates high profit margins. That brings us to Raytheon (RTN) , a maker of cybersecurity products, intelligence-gathering sensors and missile systems.
In particular, Raytheon's foothold in the booming military drone business will hold it in good stead, as the Pentagon and overseas clients increasingly clamor for unmanned aerial vehicles.
Not only is Raytheon tapped into multiyear, market-beating growth, but it's also trading at a reasonable valuation relative to its growth prospects and its peers. This is a good time to scoop up shares, ahead of the presidential election. Regardless of who gets into the White House, renewed tensions with Russia and the omnipresent threat of terrorism ensure demand for Raytheon's products into the next Pentagon budget cycle and beyond.