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U.S. military could lose a war to China or Russia, commission warns

Discussion in 'The NF Café' started by mr_shadow, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    The United States has lost its military edge to a dangerous degree and could potentially lose a war against China or Russia, according to a report released Wednesday by a bipartisan commission that Congress created to evaluate the Trump administration’s defense strategy.

    The National Defense Strategy Commission, made up of former top Republican and Democratic officials selected by Congress, evaluated the Trump administration’s 2018 National Defense Strategy, which ordered a vast reshaping of the U.S. military to compete with Beijing and Moscow in an era of renewed great-power competition.

    While endorsing the strategy’s aims, the commission warned that Washington isn’t moving fast enough or investing sufficiently to put the vision into practice, risking a further erosion of American military dominance that could become a national security emergency.

    At the same time, according to the commission, China and Russia are seeking dominance in their regions and the ability to project military power globally, as their authoritarian governments pursue defense buildups aimed squarely at the United States.

    “There is a strong fear of complacency, that people have become so used to the United States achieving what it wants in the world, to include militarily, that it isn’t heeding the warning signs,” said Kathleen H. Hicks, a former top Pentagon official during the Obama administration and one of the commissioners. “It’s the flashing red that we are trying to relay.”

    The picture of the national security landscape that the 12-person commission sketched is a bleak one, in which an American military that has enjoyed undisputed dominance for decades is failing to receive the resources, innovation and prioritization its leaders need to outmuscle China and Russia in a race for military might reminiscent of the Cold War.

    The military balance has shifted adversely for the United States in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, undermining the confidence of American allies and increasing the likelihood of military conflict, the commission found, after reviewing classified documents, receiving Pentagon briefings and interviewing top defense officials.

    “The U.S. military could suffer unacceptably high casualties and loss of major capital assets in its next conflict. It might struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against China or Russia,” the report said. “The United States is particularly at risk of being overwhelmed should its military be forced to fight on two or more fronts simultaneously.”

    In its list of 32 recommendations, the commission urged the Pentagon to explain more clearly how it intends to defeat major-power rivals in competition and war. It assailed the strategy for relying at times on “questionable assumptions and weak analysis” and leaving “unanswered critical questions.”

    Eric Edelman, a top Pentagon official during the Bush administration, who co-chaired the commission along with retired admiral Gary Roughead, said the report wrestled with the consequences of years of ignored warnings about the erosion of American military might.

    Russia and China have “learned from what we’ve done. They’ve learned from our success. And while we’ve been off doing a different kind of warfare, they’ve been prepared for a kind of warfare at the high end that we really haven’t engaged in for a very long time,” Edelman told Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA and a fellow member of the commission, during a forthcoming episode of Morell’s podcast, “Intelligence Matters.”

    Edelman said people had lost sight of how complicated the international security environment had become for the United States, and argued that for a lot of reasons the American public and Congress haven’t been as attentive to the urgency of the situation as they should be.

    The commission argued that despite a $716 billion American defense budget this year, which is four times the size of China’s and more than 10 times that of Russia, the effort to reshape the U.S. defense establishment to counter current threats is under-resourced. It recommended that Congress lift budget caps on defense spending in the next two years that in the past have hobbled the military’s ability to plan for the long term.

    “It is beyond the scope of our work to identify the exact dollar amount required to fully fund the military’s needs,” the report concluded. “Yet available resources are clearly insufficient to fulfill the strategy’s ambitious goals, including that of ensuring that (the Defense Department) can defeat a major-power adversary while deterring other enemies simultaneously.”

    The call for even more robust defense spending comes as the Democrats take over the House and seek rollbacks of key Pentagon programs. It also comes after the White House instructed the Pentagon to pare back its planned budget for the coming year by some 4.5 percent, or about $33 billion, after the federal deficit increased sharply following last year’s tax cut.

    White House national security adviser John Bolton he expected the defense budget to remain relatively flat in the coming years, as the administration seeks to cut discretionary spending, and suggested the Pentagon would need to reshape the military with funds derived from cuts to other areas.

    Money saved from planned Pentagon reforms will prove insufficient to see through the kind of investment the military needs to see through the new national defense strategy, the commission found. It also said Congress should look at the entire federal budget, including entitlement spending and tax revenue, to put the nation on more stable financial footing, rather than slash defense spending.

    To counter Russia and China, the commission said the Navy should expand its submarine fleet and sealift forces; the Air Force should introduce more reconnaissance platforms and stealth long-range fighters and bombers; and the Army should pursue more armor, long-range precision missiles and air-defense and logistical forces.

    In its recommendations, the report advocated seeing through the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and putting a top Pentagon official in charge of developing additional air and missile defenses.

    Another area of focus for the commission was innovation.

    It described current Pentagon acquisition programs as too risk-averse, and urged the Defense Department and Congress to create a new category of pilot programs aimed at “leap-ahead” technologies that could serve as breakthroughs to help retain American military dominance.

    The report also resurfaced questions about the civilian-military divide that arose after retired Marine Corps general Jim Mattis took over as defense secretary, thanks to a vote in Congress that waived a requirement for military officers to be out of uniform for 10 years before serving in that role.

    In his nearly two years as secretary, Mattis has relied more on current and former military officers for expertise than his recent predecessors have.

    Without singling out Mattis, the commission warned that “responsibility on key strategic and policy issues has increasingly migrated to the military,” and urged Congress to exercise oversight to “reverse the unhealthy trend in which decision-making is drifting increasingly toward the military on issues of national importance.”

     
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  2. wibisana still newbie

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    Clearly need to spend 1.4 Trillion dollars /yr.

    Go spend more USA
     
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  3. Chelydra Devour them all.

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    And people whine that we spend too much...
     
  4. Son of Goku Doesn't need a Custom Title

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    Because you are.
     
  5. Darkmatter Lion's Sin of Pride

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    I'm honestly not surprised. If they were to throw down today, then I can see this happen because we've already thinned out our resources in the wars we've engaged in. We're still in Iraq, and Afghanistan war is nowhere close to being over thanks to the Bush administration.
    Then comes the Obama administration and we're in more wars like Yemen and Libya.

    These wars are already costing us more than it is worth (money, lives, resources, ect...), and if it keeps up, then the country's military will deteriorate.
     
  6. Chelydra Devour them all.

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    This commission says otherwise, we haven't been spending enough.
     
  7. Son of Goku Doesn't need a Custom Title

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    You have upto 1000 bases on foreign soil and are in constant war. Ergo: You're spending it wrong.
     
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  8. stream Do something, Naruto!

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    In the meantime, Russia does not even have a single functioning aircraft carrier. The US are jumping at shadows.
     
  9. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    I think part of what they're getting at is that America hasn't actually fought a country of its own "weight class" since World War 2.

    North Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan weren't exactly world powers. And still those managed to drag on much longer than expected (aside from the first Iraq war).

    Since we're still kind of in the centenary of World War 1 (we haven't passed the anniversary of the Versailles Treaty yet), it might be appropriate to recall how overconfident all the Great Powers of the time were. The Germans were sure that they could waltz into France and capture Paris within a couple of days. Instead the attacking and defending forces turned out to be more or less exactly evenly matched and the Western Front froze in virtually the same place for the entire duration of the war.

    If a Third World War between America and China/Russia doesn't instantly go nuclear and we all die on the first day, conventional warfare could easily become a quagmire. I've previously brought up the scenario of a limited U.S.-China war over Taiwan where nobody invades the mainland of the other but just keeps throwing troops and resources onto Taiwan Island - like how most of the fighting of the Vietnam War took place in South Vietnam even though the Vietcong had the backing of North Vietnam, China, and the Soviet Union.
     
  10. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    Also if we're being mean, we could also point out that America didn't enter World War 2 until 1941, when the Axis had already been at war for one (Italy), two (Germany), or four (Japan) years.

    It's a matter for alternative historians whether America could have soloed one, two, or all of the Axis if they'd been freshly rested and not simultaneously at war with the other Allies.
     
  11. MrGayNight Member

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    In an optimistic viewpoint, this could just be an attempt to trick russia and china into a false sense of belief that they don't even need to increase the power of their military.

    But US is the same country who's spies got fucked over by google...
     
  12. Owl m ø r k e t s p r i n s

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    In a long drawn out war with China in East Asia and mainland SE Asia? Yes. But other than that no.
     
  13. Hozukimaru &#32

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    Sure it's the result of this commission, but is all the money spent efficiently? Would better prioritizing deliver better defense value at the same or lower cost?

    More importantly is the purpose of the US military minimizing loss of life and economic damage to US citizens or maintaining global hegemony and defending foreign territories thousands of miles away from home?

    It's ultimately a question of strategy. Yes, the US can better defend itself. Is this however the strategic goal of the military, as defined by the civilian leadership of the country?
     
  14. Drake WORK MAKES YOU FREE

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    I don't really believe this at all. The article mentions zero specifics, and it only singles out a few general things in a throwaway line, most of which aren't even as bad as Russia's or China's (for example, US sealift capability and submarine forces are not worse than Russia's or China's, though sealift is admittedly bad right now).

    The commission says military strategy lies on too many assumptions, but it sounds like the findings of the commission do as well. It feels like they're assuming that "victory" refers to rolling Abrams tanks down the streets of Moscow and Beijing, and they assume that America will be fighting a two-front war all by itself.
     
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  15. makeoutparadise I will have my revenge

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    We’re spending how much and this is he level of sercurity we got? Clearly money isnt helping
     
  16. makeoutparadise I will have my revenge

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    Millitary spending does not a good Army make. Good and smart soilders do.
    Look at the civil war union forces had the south out gunned, out manned and out supplied.
    But until They appointed sherman and grant
    General lee was handing the union forces their ass on a platter

    Look at veitnam and the middle east.
    The US may have the best tech and the best weapons
    But it still came down to smart tatics and some home made explosives.
     
  17. reiatsuflow Well-Known Member

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    China 'and' russia, article. China and russia.

    ...That's why we can't keep turning off our european allies if we want to maintain western dominance.

    If the western world continues fragmenting and the china (I'm calling china 'the china' from now on because that's how serious this is) doesn't have some sort of revolt or collapse from all its bullshit, I'm very concerned and also uninformed. A very concerning combination.
     
  18. Orochibuto Well-Known Member

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    It is definitively possible. But for this, we have first to take into account, which type of war we are talking about.

    First of all, we don't take nukes in count, because no one is winning that, well, death would.

    In a conventional war, depending on the war, it is very possible for the US to lose. A war on the US mainland to bring the USA to unconditional surrender? No, they are not winning that.

    A war in Europe or Asia? Yes, the US could definitively lose. How? Well, yes the US is militarily superior. But here we have to take in count we are comparing a liberal democracy, whose current population at large does not know the horrors of war, versus 2 dictatorships, one of them (Russia) that has already been shown as capable and willing to fight to the last man (though to be fair, they were fighting for survival).

    Let's suppose this is a war over Taiwan. Or Russia deciding to take the Baltic States. The USA on paper could win. The question is, would the USA go for the win if it required 2-5 million lives? Would the USA be willing to sacrify millions of American lives to protect Latvia? I don't think so.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  19. Island In the Sun Moderator

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    There's a lot of overlap between these two.
     
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  20. Junta1987 The Skeptic

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    Russia has nuclear weapons could be a threat for the United States but when it comes to the regular army i doubt that they will be a match for the USA. China is a bigger threat in that regard
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
  21. Takano-san Doroshī no yūjin

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    Clearly, this is the case for having robots do the work for us IMO. A machine army is far more effective and never disobeys orders. Developing an AI army to deter threats to national security is vitally important to protecting American interests.
     
  22. Hozukimaru &#32

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    That's a broad statement.

    Consider that Russia's GDP is $1.6b while EU GDP is $18.8b. Can the EU economy handle the cost of building and sustaining a military able to deter and defeat a future Russian invasion? Obviously. But why buy something when protection is provided for free.

    The same stands true for eastern allies such as Japan.

    I like shiny tanks and jet fighters too but the right approach to security isn't "there's no such thing as too much". Not in our private lives nor in public policy. We live in a world with limited resources and humans wants are unlimited, inevitably we have to pick our battles.

    There's no scenario where China or Russia or anyone else can remotely threaten US soil or exclusive economic zone with non-nuclear means.

    These simulations assume combined attacks against US allies where the US fights thousands of miles from home, some tens of miles off enemy land, like in Taiwan or Eastern Europe.
     
  23. Island In the Sun Moderator

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    Did you quote the right person?

    You asked whether the American military is supposed to defend American economic interests or maintain global hegemony. My answer was that there's a lot of overlap between the two.
     
  24. Cardboard Tube Knight Well-Known Member

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    When are you enlisting?
     
  25. ClandestineSchemer Well-Known Member

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  26. Hozukimaru &#32

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    I said that your reply is not very specific as to why this is.

    The rest of the post is more of a general reply to the thread.
     
  27. Island In the Sun Moderator

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    It should be self-evident.

    But if it's not, sure, I'll break it down for you:

    Here you offered two possibilities as to the "purpose" of the American military:

    1. Minimizing loss of life and destruction of property.
    2. Maintaining global hegemony and defending our allies.

    I said there is a lot of overlap between the two.

    Global hegemony offers an inherent protection of American life and property; as long as we have it, our wars are going to be fought someplace other than North America.

    If a war broke out with China tomorrow, it would be fought in Taiwan, South Korea, and the Pacific and not California. Similarly, if a conflict broke out with Russia, we'd be fighting in Ukraine and Poland, not New England or New York.
     
  28. reiatsuflow Well-Known Member

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    But neither has russia or china.

    The dictatorship is an interesting point (we only hope a democracy beats a dictatorship) but the russian mettle you're talking about was world war 2. Russia hasn't dealt with anything like that since either. The current population doesn't know the horrors of war either. They arguably have less experience in modern warfare than the united states, who at least has with the ongoing middle east conflict, which is larger sale than something like syria.

    I'd ask after china on that point too. Has china been dealing with anything on the scale of the US in the middle east? Our ongoing wars are a detriment to our resources, but they've also kept us engaged and training and failing and learning in large scale conflicts. From that vantage it looks like russia and china would be the rusty ones.
     
  29. Chelydra Devour them all.

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    You don't need to be a doctor to know there is a problem with someone. :awesome
     
  30. Skaddix Well-Known Member

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    Dont by it unless we get by a massive cyber attack first.
     
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