US military only ‘marginally able' to meet needs, think tank argues

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The U.S. military is only “marginally” able to defend the country’s national interests at home and abroad, the conservative Heritage Foundation’s 2022 Index of U.S. Military Strength found.

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The more than 600-page index, released on Tuesday night, concludes that the U.S. military is “likely capable” of meeting the demands of a single major regional conflict though it “certainly would be ill-equipped to handle two nearly simultaneous” major regional conflicts.

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The conservative think tank rated each military branch on its capacity, capability, and readiness. Each was given a ranking: “very weak,” “weak,” “marginal,” “strong,” or “very strong,” in addition to an overall grade.

The Marine Corps was the only service branch to receive a “strong” overall rating while both the Army and Navy were deemed “marginal,” and the Air Force and Space Force were labeled as “weak.”

The index also evaluated various threats the United States is facing and the capability of those actors.

While China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea all pose “high” threats — on a scale of “severe,” “high,” “elevated,” “guarded,” or “low” — only China and Russia were deemed to be “formidable” in their capabilities, per the index.

Russia “remains the primary threat to American interests in Europe” while China is the “the most comprehensive threat” to the U.S.

With the 20-year war in Afghanistan having come to its conclusion at the end of August, military leaders have begun re-posturing around the looming threat in Asia.

Chinese officials, earlier this week, denied a report from the Financial Times that their military had “tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile” that “circled the globe before speeding toward its target, demonstrating advanced space capabilities that caught U.S. intelligence by surprise.”

“This test was a routine spacecraft experiment to verify the reusable technology of spacecraft, which is of great significance for reducing the cost of spacecraft use,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijan said. “It can provide a convenient and cheap way for humans to use space peacefully. Many companies in the world have carried out similar experiments.”

The U.S. and China have also hit each other over Taiwan, an island off China’s coast that they contend is a part of their country, though islanders consider themselves an independent nation.

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The Chinese denial of the hypersonic missile test, coupled with U.S. admissions that it is unprepared to defend against such technology, comes on the heels of a large-scale Chinese air incursion on Taiwan earlier this month. Chinese forces sent an unprecedented number of warplanes, roughly 150, toward the island, according to the BBC.

Roughly two dozen U.S. special-operations troops and support troops are conducting secret training operations in Taiwan and have been for at least a year, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.

 

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Tags: News, Defense, National Security, Heritage Foundation, China, Military, Pentagon

Original Author: Mike Brest

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