Original title: win both China and Russia at the same time? Us think tank to assess U.S. war capability and raise the burden of "target"
Reference News Network reported on October 11 that since the United States shifted its focus of military building from global anti-terrorism to "big power competition" with China and Russia, all arms of the United States have expanded their armaments and put forward their own modernization plans to meet the needs of the new strategy. So, since the implementation of the new defense strategy, how much has the U.S. military's conventional combat capability to deal with these so-called "opponents" improved? A report released recently by the American Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in the United States, offers a detailed analysis of these issues. The US think tank report said that although the US military's momentum could be expected, the US military's operational capability does not seem to be enough to "win two large-scale wars at the same time".
According to the Defense News website, the Heritage Foundation of the United States issued an assessment report entitled "US Military Index 2019". The report says the US military has made some significant progress since 2017 in updating equipment, filling vacancies, restructuring military infrastructure and readiness. However, the readiness of the US Army and the fullness of its key positions are still not optimistic. At the same time, the security threats faced by the United States have not changed qualitatively. Accordingly, the US think tank believes that there are still some important shortcomings in the current operational capability of the US Army.
The US think tank reports that the US Army is in a state of "marginal". According to the report, if the U.S. military is to be able to cope with all of its current opponents, it will need to build an army of 50 brigade combat teams, a navy of 400 warships and 624 fighter planes, an air force of 1,200 combat aircraft of all types, and a marine of 36 battalion sizes. Even the Defense News sneered that this requirement was "fantastic" compared to the size of the U.S. military. At present, the U.S. Army has only 31 active brigade combat teams, the number of naval vessels can barely reach 300, the number of Marine and Air Force troops is difficult to achieve the desired standards.
Compared with the insufficient number of combat troops, the problem of the lack of Posts and the low level of combat readiness of the U. S. military is more serious. The Defense News quoted a U.S. think tank as saying that the U.S. Army should have at least two-thirds of its existing brigade combat teams (about 20 brigade combat teams) to respond to security threats. However, the U.S. Army currently has only 15 brigade combat teams at an "acceptable" level of combat readiness, while only eight brigade combat teams are fully ready; in the Air Force, the number of active pilots with combat capabilities of the U.S. Air Force is severely lacking, making it difficult to meet the daily needs of the force; and the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves. The fleet's "part-time" pilots are hard to increase; the Navy has been plagued by a shortage of ships since the Obama administration, and even the continued inclusion of new ships in recent years has been difficult to ease the plight. In addition, the maintenance and upgrading of existing equipment and personnel training rotation process have been delayed. U.S. Defense Secretary Matisse has confirmed that he was "shocked" by the operational readiness of U.S. troops.
From the above analysis, it is easy to see that the US think tank believes that although the US military's current situation has improved, it is still far from meeting the task requirements of its new strategy. As a result, the report concludes that if the U.S. military is to be comfortable with its current security environment, it will need to maintain its current military spending growth for at least a decade or more (notably, close to $700 billion in fiscal year 2018). However, even the writers of the report are pessimistic about this. Dakota Wood, a military expert at the Heritage Foundation, argues that the U.S. government's defense budget for fiscal year 2019 is still seeking a sustained increase in military spending, which, if put into practice, has reached the current "upper limit" of military spending growth. Apart from being constrained by the macroeconomic situation in the United States, it is difficult for US politicians to agree to increase military spending by ignoring other fiscal expenditure needs at the federal level. To sum up, in the eyes of experts at American think tanks, "money shortage" is the root cause of many of the difficulties currently facing the U.S. military.
However, if we look closely at the current military strategy of the United States, we can ask more questions about this argument. The plight of insufficient resources for the US military in expanding its armaments and improving its readiness for war stems from its own excessive armament standards. This kind of armament standard is required by the defense strategy pursued by the United States to contain both China and Russia and to sustain anti-terrorism. Is this strategy aimed at fully implementing the strategy of big powers really conforming to the national interests of the United States? How long will the trend of military investment continue? Can powerful military forces succeed in "containment" against us opponents? Perhaps these questions remain to be discussed, but also need to be "distressed" by the lack of U. S. military and political strength of the United States to reflect on this. (Wen / Ma Qifei)
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