Marine Corps General John Paxton testified before Congress that the Marines might not be prepared for war. Last week, the Assistant Commandant candidly admitted to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. Marine Corps isn’t what it used to be. He said:
“I worry about the capability and the capacity to win in a major fight somewhere else right now,” because of inadequate training and equipment needed in the areas of communications, intelligence, and aviation.
The Marine Corps isn’t alone in its negative self-assessment. Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley told Congress that his branch is prepared to battle ISIS — and no other potential adversary. The U.S. would probably lose a war with China, according to General Milley. Or with Russia, North Korea, or Iran.
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According the Associated Press, “Mark Milley says years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, constrained budgets and troop cuts have had a cumulative effect on the service.”
Essentially, our military is capable of defeating the guys Obama described as the JV team but not a conventional force of any heft. Pathetic.
How’s the Air Force faring? If recent trends are any indication, it may soon be incapable of fulfilling its raison d’être — air superiority. It’s been a very long time since America has gone to war without first asserting absolute dominion over the sky. Air superiority will probably be more difficult to establish in coming years as other nations, particularly China and Russia, fortify their air defenses with new technologies while we continue to fly 1970’s-era F-15s and F-16s as our primary fighters.
Air Force General Frank Gorenc, who commands NATO Allied Air Command, U.S. Air Forces Europe, and U.S. Air Forces Africa, is not confident that U.S. forces will be able to achieve and maintain air superiority in future conflicts. He said:
“The advantage that we had from the air, I can honestly say, is shrinking…. This is not just a Pacific problem. It’s as significant in Europe as it is anywhere else on the planet…. I don’t think it’s controversial to say [Russia has] closed the gap in capability.”
It doesn’t help that their commander-in-chief pretends not to hear what they’re saying. Just two months ago, Obama delivered a State of the Union address in which he pooh-poohed the very idea that America’s armed forces are languishing in disrepair. Said Obama:
I told you earlier all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. [Emphasis added]
Didn’t President Obama consult his top military leaders before including that remark in his speech? If he had they would have told him what they told Congress last week — namely, that the military is woefully unprepared. If we rule out the possibility that he’s never had such a conversation with the brass then we must conclude that he flippantly dismissed what they told him, probably with the same nifty factoid about military expenditures that he used at the State of the Union. Obama clearly didn’t listen to his advisors because they told him something he didn’t want to hear.
Or is there another possibility? Could it be that this president knows quite well how much the military has atrophied under his administration and he’s pleased with it?