Conservative think organization Heritage Foundation issued a report on Tuesday stating that it believes that the US military is not adequately funded, has “poorly defined” priorities, and could struggle to deal with multiple regional conflicts. This is all the more worrying because tensions have increased between China and Russia lately; in the meantime the Ukraine conflict continues to drag on while we continue to give huge sums of military aid.
The Wall Street Journal describes the objective of the index as follows: “The index measures the military’s ability to prevail in two major regional conflicts at once—say, a conflict in the Middle East and a fight on the Korean peninsula.” The annual report, dubbed the “Index of U.S. Military Strength,” found:
As currently postured, the U.S. military is at growing risk of not being able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests. It is rated as weak relative to the force needed to defend national interests on a global stage against actual challenges in the world as it is rather than as we wish it were. This is the logical consequence of years of sustained use, underfunding, poorly defined priorities, wildly shifting security policies, exceedingly poor discipline in program execution, and a profound lack of seriousness across the national security establishment even as threats to U.S. interests have surged.
“In the aggregate, the United States’ military posture can only be rated as ‘weak,'” the report said. The Marine Corps came out unscathed and was awarded a “strong” rating. The Army was awarded a “marginal” rating, the Space Force and Navy were classified as “weak,” and the Air Force earned the dubious classification of “very weak.”
The service has recently had difficulties in recruiting and retention, which is at least in part due to woke policies. Unsurprisingly, the shocking increase in inflation under the presidency of Joe Biden is also contributing to the problems:
“At present, the [Biden] administration’s proposed defense budget for [fiscal year] 2023 falls far short of what the services need to regain readiness and to replace aged equipment,” the report said, “and Congress’s intention to increase the proposed budget by 5 percent accounts for barely half of the current rate of inflation, which is nearing 10 percent.”
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), who is the House Armed Services Committee member, told reporters on Tuesday the following:
The particular problem with that is if you look at our priority theater, the Indo-Pacific, the two priority services are the Navy and the Air Force – and those seem to be the ones that are doing the worst.
I fear as you look at the geopolitical environment, we are going to find ourselves in a competition with China or Taiwan within the next few years if we continue down this path of naive disarmament.
The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal responded to the news and wrote that to build power it is essential to put your money into your efforts:
Some will call all this alarmist and ask why the Pentagon can’t do better on an $800 billion budget. The latter is a fair question and the answer requires procurement and other changes. But the U.S. will also have to spend more on defense if it wants to protect its interests and the homeland. The U.S. is spending about 3% of GDP now compared to 5%-6% in the 1980s. The Heritage report is a warning that you can’t deter war, much less win one, on the cheap.
Democrats will likely denounce the report, saying that it's a conservative think-tank and shouldn't be regarded as fact. However, the conclusions are a bit scary.