Right-wing think tank says US military is ‘weak,’ questions ability to win war
Oct 20, 2022 - 02:32 AM
WASHINGTON (AA) – The right-wing Heritage Foundation think tank has concluded that the US military is “weak” and may not be able to win a war amid heightened tensions with Russia and China.
The foundation’s annual Index of US Military Strength downgraded its assessment of the US military from “marginal,” which it appraised in 2021.
It said the military is “at growing risk of not being able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests” and is “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.”
The “weak” rating is the first in the report’s nine-year history. It is the “logical conclusion” of years of continued 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,” the report said.
The report assesses whether the US military would be able to prevail in two simultaneous regional conflicts, and this year’s iteration said the military “is at significant risk of not being able to meet the demands of a single major regional conflict.”
That is especially problematic, the report says, as the prospects of a two-front conflict have increased significantly amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and tensions with China have grown increasingly over Taiwan and other regional disputes.
“The force would probably not be able to do more and is certainly ill-equipped to handle two nearly simultaneous MRCs—a situation that is made more difficult by the generally weak condition of key military allies,” the report said, referring to major regional conflicts.
Turning to the individual US military branches, the only service to be rated “strong” is the Marines. The Army is evaluated as being “marginal,” while the Navy and Space Force come in at “weak.”
The Air Force is appraised as “very weak” due to its lack of mission readiness and current deployment of aircraft that would present a problem in responding to a crisis.
The US’s nuclear forces meanwhile were evaluated as “strong” but trending towards “marginal” or “weak” because of aging equipment as threats continue to multiply.