A new Rand Corp. study warns the U.S. military is inadequately structured to combat threats from China, Russia and Islamic terrorism, according to the Washington Times.
The study, titled “U.S. Military Capabilities and Forces for a Dangerous World,” concludes the American military must reform its structure and war-fighting plans to better meet the challenges it faces.
“Put more starkly, assessments in this report will show that U.S. forces could, under plausible assumptions, lose the next war they are called upon to fight, despite the United States outspending China on military forces by a ratio of 2.7 to 1 and Russia by 6 to 1,” the report said. “The nation needs to do better than this.”
The report stated American forces are currently big enough to fight a single major war but have not kept pace with military advances by other global powers. They are “poorly postured to meet key challenges in Europe and East Asia, and insufficiently trained and ready to get the most operational utility from many of its active component units,” according to the report.
Rand suggested that instead of preparing the military to fight two regional wars in overlapping time frames, the military should focus on battling its five main present-day enemies: China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Islamic terror organizations.
The study recommended three scenarios: a force structure prepared to fight one major war against Russia or China; forces ready to fight one major war and one regional conflict against Iran or North Korea; or a force structure prepared for two major wars, which would require larger numbers of warships, fighter squadrons and combat brigades.
Rand estimated the annual costs for these three scenarios as $538 billion, $610 billion and $628 billion, respectively.
The report charged that the Defense Department’s current approach to force planning has “placed too little emphasis on modernizing the capabilities, posture, and operating concepts of U.S. forces for power projection.”
“The result — a force that is insufficiently robust to face the challenges posed by the most capable adversaries — poses growing risks to the viability of the United States’ most-important security relationships,” the report concluded.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a similar warning in June when he told the Senate Armed Services Committee the U.S. military risked losing its competitive edge over its adversaries in five years without a major increase in defense spending.
The conclusions also were in alignment with what WND reported just one day earlier, that Russia, China, North Korea and Iran all are upgrading their nuclear arsenals.
That report documented how Russia and China are aggressively implementing nuclear force modernization, “likely made possible with covert and low-yield nuclear testing.”
Russia and China are now deploying new nuclear ICBMs, new nuclear air-launched cruise missiles, new nuclear submarine-launched ballistic missiles and new ballistic missile submarines. Both are developing still newer versions of these systems, along with bombers, including stealth bombers.
Mark Schneider, author of the report for the Center for Security Policy and a longtime Pentagon official with expertise in strategic forces, describes the huge increase in numbers and sophistication of the Russian and Chinese missile arsenals and compares this with the deterioration of America’s nuclear arsenal.
Russia is aggressively building up its nuclear forces and is expected to have 8,000 warheads deployed by 2026 along with modernizing deep underground bunkers.
These new warheads will include large strategic warheads and thousands of low-yield and very low-yield warheads to circumvent arms treaty limits and support Moscow’s new doctrine of using nuclear arms early in any conflict.
Russia is also fortifying underground facilities for command and control during a nuclear conflict.
In contrast to Russia’s vastly upgraded position, most of the U.S. systems date back to the Reagan era, with some going as far back as the Eisenhower administration.
“The advanced ages of U.S. deterrent systems at their planned replacement dates create the possibility of the loss of critical capability if there are unexpected problems within systems or delays with existing systems,” Schneider writes.
His report notes that the U.S. no longer has the capability to produce tritium, a vital nuclear weapons ingredient. He explains that the average age of a U.S. nuclear weapon – 35 years – represents a serious threat to the U.S. nuclear arsenal because the estimated life span of the nuclear fuel in these weapons is 45 to 60 years.
Peter Pry, executive director of the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the United States Nuclear Strategy Forum, which is an advisory board to Congress, said he agrees wholeheartedly with the findings of the report.
“I agree completely with Mark Schneider’s excellent analysis,” Pry told WND. “In addition to the aged condition of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, it is technologically obsolete compared to new generations of Russian nuclear weapons based on new designs.”
For the last eight years, under Barack Obama, the U.S. defense preparations were slowed down, while the military was made a testing ground for social agendas such as homosexuals and transgenders in the ranks.
Under President Trump, those priorities are gradually being returned to standards that reflect the goal of national security.