The Department of Defense wants a boost in spending to improve the U.S. military’s readiness.
But a political activist with the Federation of American Scientists contends assessing military readiness is getting harder, because some of the information needed is no longer being made public, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Steven Aftergood, who directs the FAS Project on Government Secrecy, points out that information that has been made available is contradictory.
Aftergood, whose has won accolades for his two-decade fight for public access to government information, noted in a published report that Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Monday told the House Armed Services Committee, “I have been shocked by what I’ve seen about our readiness to fight.”
And President Trump said recently there is a need to “improve readiness conditions.”
But just last year, retired Gen. David Petraeus and Brookings Institution senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “America’s fighting forces remain ready for battle.”
“They have extensive combat experience across multiple theatres since 9/11, a tremendous high-tech defense industry supplying advanced weaponry, and support from an extraordinary intelligence community,” Petraeus and O’Hanlon said.
Aftergood pointed out that “increasing military secrecy” has been making it harder to assess military readiness.
He wrote that a government official told The National Interest last month that some readiness information “has always been classified and now we are classifying more of it.”
“We don’t think it should be public, for example, how many THAADs are not operational due to maintenance reasons,” the official said. “We don’t think it should be public what percent of our F-22s are not available due to maintenance. We don’t think it should be public how many of our pilots are below their required number of training hours in the cockpit.”
Further, there’s no clear definition of military readiness.