US Faces Declining Military Might

Posted: August 29, 2017 in Uncategorized

“The sta­tus quo that was hatched and nurtured by U.S. strategists after World War II and has for decades been the principal ‘beat’ for DoD is not merely fraying but may, in fact, be collapsing.” – At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World

Andrei Akulov

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declared in June that he was «shocked» upon his return to the Pentagon by the poor state of the US military’s readiness for combat. It was widely believed that the statement was just another attempt to convince lawmakers that the military needed more money. Perhaps, it was one of the reasons, but a series of accidents followed to confirm the fact that «something is wrong in the state of Denmark». These are not the best days for the US military beset by problems. Some experts believe the United States is facing erosion of its military might.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin has been relieved of his duty as the commander of the US 7th Fleet, following an incident on August 21 in which the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a merchant ship east of the Malacca Strait. It was the fourth time a US warship has been involved in an accident in Asian waters in 2017. US Pacific Command chief Harry Harris said it wouldn’t have an averse effect on operations. It’s hard to believe it after a spate of accidents this year.

President Trump has pledged to boost the fleet from 272 to 350 ships. A 30-year shipbuilding plan in force now would bring the number up to 308 ships. Getting to 350 would entail a great hike of expenditure taking into account maintenance, staffing, weapons acquisition and long-term costs. The president also wants to increase the active-duty Army by 60,000 soldiers and the Marines by 20,000 service members. Increasing numbers of personnel and weapon systems is a good thing but professionalism also matters. What’s the use of building more hulls and then have the number of combat ready warships reduced as a result of accidents?

Jerry Hendrix, a retired Navy captain and senior fellow and director of the Defense Strategies and Assessments Program at the Center for a New American Security, believes that the accidents point to two major shortfalls: leadership and training.

. . .

The operations in Iraq and Afghanistan show the Army can advance and seize territory but it cannot effectively control it. There have been no short victorious wars this century the US military could be proud of. The United States spends more on national defense than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan combined. Defense spending accounts for almost 16 percent of all federal spending and roughly half of discretionary spending. But in many instances the United States has lost or is losing its competitive edge. With much smaller budget, other nations, such as Russia, get much more bang for their buck. . .

 

Source: US Faces Erosion of Its Military Might

Comments
  1. Maybe the problem is that the real purpose of modern American warfare is to feed the Military Industrial Complex. War profiteers make money from selling the hardware — and the longer the war lasts, the better for their wallets.

    • I think you’re right, JoAnn. It’s been well-documented for years that billions of Pentagon money simply disappears. And defense contractors are notorious for billing thousands of dollars for small items such as toilet seats and screw drivers.

    • Yeah right, futuret. I’m not sure how they’re going to pay for that. The people who finance US debt (like the Chinese and Japanese) are becoming more and more wary of funding foolish projects such as a world police force.

  2. The U.S. military is knee deep in mental diagnoses, not to mention illicit drug use. Throwing more money away on the military is stupid and wasteful. But who in Washington would listen to common sense?

    Dr. Bramhall, thanks for posting this. I’m not back online yet, and so forgive me for not commenting as I am still trying to get settled in a new state and I am working with this lame smartphone.

    • Excellent point, Shelby. I’m thrilled to here you have finally left Baltimore. What’s it like having a Smartphone? I have enough trouble trying to adjust to my dumb phone.

      • It ain’t easy working with this lame smartphone. Mine is the cheapest I could find. I am currently staying in a hotel as my new home will not be ready until September 8 and the hotel computer is always in use. I hate this lame smartphone. I hope to be back up and running in a few weeks. I miss reading and commenting here.

  3. I’m sure that’s definitely part of it, Rosaliene, but Joanne and Shelby rightly point out the major problems in the Pentagon with corruption and waste and mental illness and alcohol abuse among US forces.

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