“Despite budget cuts and a reduction in size, the US has maintained its position as the world’s strongest military, according to a report on globalization from Credit Suisse. While the US is still far and away the world’s top military superpower, Russia and China are its closest rivals.” Heritage Foundation Oct. 3rd, 2015
The main responsibility of the US military is to protect the homeland. We have been very lucky that they have not had to do that since World War II. Though that is still their main objective today, it is no longer the only one. Today, they must multi task between protecting the homeland and protecting our allies and interests abroad. With all the budget cuts and base closings they have endured over the last 7 years, it is not surprising that the men and women in uniform are being stretched to the limit of their capabilities.
Before I go on I need to explain exactly who and what Heritage.org is, since I am getting most of my information from them. Heritage.org or The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank located in Washington, D.C. While I don’t agree with most of their postings, I do however agree on their assessment of the US military such as it is today.
The quote at the top of this article was a review of our capabilities in 2015. Today, even though the Heritage foundation has downgraded our military’s strike ability, we are still the strongest military power on the planet. Having said that we must also understand that the years of budget cuts have taken its toll.
According to the Heritage Foundation’s review for 2016 and 2017, our army is weak. Budget cuts have forced our Army to keep only one third of its unit’s combat ready.
According to the Heritage Foundation, “The Navy’s readiness score increased from 2016 Index’s “marginal” to “strong,” but only by sacrificing long-term readiness to meet current operational demands. While the Navy is maintaining a moderate global presence, it has little ability to surge to meet wartime demands.”
The Air Force’s level of strength is classified as marginal. “ While its overall score remains the same as last year’s, the USAF’s accumulating shortage of pilots (700) and maintenance personnel (4,000) has begun to affect its ability to generate combat power.” Heritage Foundation 2017
The Marine Corp’s report isn’t much better. “The Corps continues to deal with readiness challenges driven by the combined effects of high operational tempo and low levels of funding. At times during 2016, less than one-third of its F/A-18s, a little more than a quarter of its heavy-lift helicopters, and only 43 percent of its overall aviation fleet were available for operational employment.” Heritage Foundation.
And finally this brings us to our nuclear capability which is also listed as marginal. “Modernization, testing, and investment in intellectual and talent underpinnings continue to be the chief problems facing America’s nuclear enterprise. Delivery platforms are good, but the force depends on a very limited set of weapons (in number of designs) and models that are quite old.” Heritage Foundation 2017
We must remember when regarding our nuclear stockpile we have been prevented from testing or modernizing our weapons due to the numerous treaties we have signed with an array of nations around the world. In this respect I believe those treaties are a good thing. After all how many missiles do you need to destroy the world?
So an increase in the military budget is long overdue. We need to get our armed forces back up to the levels needed for those brave men and women to do their jobs and to do it as safely as possible. We don’t need to bring our strength up to what it was in Korea or even Vietnam. With the advancement of technology we don’t need a huge increase. One missile cruiser today can do the same job as 5 or 6 cruisers did 20 years ago. So we need to do this right and we need to do this smart not just for our sake but for the sake of those given the job of going into harm’s way. For those that want to read the full report you can go to…http://index.heritage.org/military/2017/assessments/