Skip to comments.Growing Threats, Weakened Forces: A Hard Look at U.S. Military Strength
Posted on 10/14/2017 10:25:45 AM PDT by Kaslin
If you were asked to rate the readiness levels of the U.S. military, what would you say?
For this exercise, assume you have a scale with five choices: very weak, weak, marginal, strong and very strong. Think about each branch of the military. Where would it fall?
Perhaps you're thinking, "I'm not an expert, so I can't say for sure." So let me refer you to the latest report from The Heritage Foundation's Center for National Defense. The authors are, in fact, experts -- and their conclusions are sobering.
I'm referring to the 2018 Index of U.S. Military Strength. The editors take a hard, detailed look at all the facts, and using the scale mentioned above, rate the Navy and the Air Force as "marginal" and the Army and Marines as "weak."
How is this possible, you may ask? It's simple. For years now, we've been asking our military to do more with less. They've taken on more work and more missions, all while enduring budget cuts that eat into their ability modernize and equip themselves properly.
Do that long enough, and even the best military in the world will start to feel the effects. It's not a question of dedication or determination. Our soldiers are doing the best they can, and we should be proud of their professionalism. But if we don't meet them halfway with the money they need to do all the work they're being asked to do, should we be surprised when we find them running on fumes?
"The common theme across the services," the Index editors write, "is one of force degradation resulting from many years of underinvestment, poor execution of modernization programs, and the negative effects of budget sequestration (cuts in funding) on readiness and capacity."
So how does one best judge the right size, strength and capability of our armed forces? The Index editors used a formula long embraced by successive presidential administrations, Congresses, and Department of Defense staffs: the ability to handle two major wars at the same time.
This is why readiness issues rarely become apparent to the public -- until it's too late. It's like a household living paycheck to paycheck with no savings or line of credit. Everything seems okay until an emergency comes along.
And as the Index also demonstrates, such an emergency is hardly a remote possibility. The editors also assess the various threat levels to U.S. interests around the world (Asia, the Middle East, Europe) and find some troubling storm clouds on the horizon.
All of the six noted "threat actors" in the Index -- Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and terrorist groups in the Middle East and Afghanistan -- now rank high on the scale of threats to U.S. interests, with Russia coming close to being elevated to severe from its past score of high.
Russia and China are the "most worrisome," the editors note. Both are modernizing and expanding their offensive military capabilities in ways that indicate it won't be long before they could pose a more serious threat than they already do.
And I hardly need to remind everyone of North Korea's nuclear ambitions. The latest tests by Kim Jong-uns bellicose regime clearly hint at North Koreas ability to reach targets in the United States and among its allies.
In short, the world is becoming more dangerous, even as America's ability to counter that danger continues to degrade.
But it doesn't have to be this way. There's still time for Congress and the president to turn the ship before it hits an iceberg.
Yes, they have taken some positive steps recently to fund readiness more robustly. But they haven't overturned the Budget Control Act that caps defense spending. And they haven't yet shown a real commitment to funding the military at levels necessary to modernize aging equipment and make the military capable of meeting its many obligations.
President Reagan often spoke of "peace through strength." Our strength is clearly ebbing. Will peace soon follow?
NK is in much worse shape.
Democrats are quite happy with our military readiness. They imagine further cuts, along with additional social justice mandatory training, will vastly improve our military readiness from what it today.
Time to quit playing the world’s policeman. It will bankrupt the nation and destroy the republic.
You have to remember that war winning was not a goal of the previous administration and they would consider readiness to be number of cross dressers, homosexuals, women in combat, communists at West Point, Muslims, etc. Like termites in raw wood, those have all eaten away at our war fighting readiness for years and now we can expect disaster in combat. Why hasnt anyone in Washington rung this fire bell in the night to alert Trump? His Generals all seem ok with the current state of the military, bitter testimony to their rise in the ranks as Obama’s Generals.
I have this fear that the US Military will collasp like a house of cards if we get into a real fight. That gay Marxist did too much damage and Mattis isn’t fixing it.
We don’t need more defense spending debt placed on the young.
“We dont need more defense spending debt placed on the young.”
True enough. I guess they will all enjoy listening to the Quran and sending their girls to be good little Muslims by FGM. Certainly the boys will be fine. Or, alternatively, you and all the young ones will want Russia or North Korea to be in charge because you are “with” them.
It is time for a hard hearted evaluation, kick out those Obama generals, rehire retired generals or Kick Ass young ones, and get absolutely NEW people in Congress. Let’s overturn the this obnoxious act that was obviously put into place as a convenience to protect Obama.
:’-(( I cannot believe we would let our country, our beloved country get into this shape. We are a sitting duck for a take over.... I never saw it so clearly.
“The common theme across the services,” the Index editors write, “is one of force degradation resulting from many years of underinvestment, poor execution of modernization programs, and the negative effects of budget sequestration (cuts in funding) on readiness and capacity.”
You can call it “underinvestment”, “poor execution of modernization programs”, and “the negative effects of budget sequestration”, or you can just sum it all up with one five letter word; O-B-A-M-A.
exactly - we need to return to protecting our shores first.
The military can not be rebuilt over night (or in 10 months).
It shows total ignorance to try to fault Trump in this.
The times they are a’changing.
I have a friend that just promoted to Lt. Col. in the USMC. Look for major changes in the next couple of years.
One must recall that in 1941, our whole military apparatus was hollowed out and largely filled with men who had little or no combat experience, except for some salty old sergeants and a number of captains and majors who had seen trench warfare, but were unready for massive air and sea assaults. Somehow, a sufficiently large number of men, between 1942 and 1945, learned all the essential and necessary skills.
I worry that McCain and the turtle will kill any increase in defense spending.
You are ignorant if you expect Secretary Mattis to undue the enormous damage that arrogant pos former occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania did to our military in the 8 years he occupied the People’s house with a snap of his fingers. Get real
Trump has promised $7 trillion for the military over the next decade.
He sees the problem. He’s the problem solver.
Not so much McConnell, but McCain without a doubt.
Id swap the marines and air for e
Exactly, and we all should support him
Yes we should.
Since there’s nobody else better, trashing Trump amounts to trashing this nation’s last chance.
I may disagree on point, but I know which side my political bread is buttered.
Trump is it.
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