United States involvement in the on-going conflict in Southeast Asia increased after the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and reached 543,000 troops by the spring of 1969. In the Carter years, the fear that growing Soviet military spending would leave the United States outnumbered in conventional forces and strategic weapons as well, led to a gradual increase in military appropriations. The Gulf War stands too close in time to assess its consequences or to evaluate its impact on American military affairs. A small army and navy sought to protect American citizens and their property on the geographic and commercial frontiers until the outbreak of the next war. The Vietnam War and its aftereffects eroded American military effectiveness and raised doubts about the nation's capacity, or willingness, to use military power to support its foreign policy. The Tet Offensive nonetheless proved to be the turning point in the war.