US military lacks capabilities to fight two simultaneous wars: Report
The United States military is slipping in its capabilities and does not currently have the resources to fight two major wars simultaneously as demanded by the Obama administration’s latest national security strategy, according to a new report.
The US armed forces “would be ill-equipped to handle two, near-simultaneous major regional contingencies (MRC),” the Heritage Foundation’s “2015 Index of US Military Strength” has found.
President Barack Obama’s new national security strategy dictates that the US military should be able to defeat one adversary in a major conflict while preventing another aggressor from defeating it in a separate theater.
The strategy of military preparedness to engage in two simultaneous armed conflicts has been in place since the Cold War.
The Heritage Foundation’s report, however, concluded that the strategy is no longer feasible.
“The consistent decline in funding and the consequent shrinking of the force are putting it under significant pressure,” the report said. “Essential maintenance is being deferred; fewer units are being cycled through operational deployments more often and for longer periods; and old equipment is being extended while programmed replacements are problematic.”
“The US military itself is aging. It’s shrinking in size,” said Dakota Wood, a senior research fellow of defense programs at the Heritage Foundation. “And it’s quickly becoming problematic in terms of being able to address more than one major conflict.”
The index report cites automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, low levels of staffing, and lack of proper military hardware as primary factors for the poor ratings.
Nearly $1 trillion will be slashed from the Pentagon’s budget in the next decade if current sequesters are not reversed.
The Heritage Foundation has graded the US Army and Navy as only “marginal” in military power. The only branch of the US military which is not currently operating at marginal levels is the Air Force, according to the report.
The Army, which is shrinking from 570,000 soldiers to 440,000 or lower, is operating at 76 percent of its required capacity and the Marine Corps is only operating at 69 percent, the index report has found.
The Obama administration released its 2015 National Security Strategy earlier this month. The 29-page document calls for a stronger American leadership in the world.