Commission: America Is Facing A 'Growing Crisis Of National Defense'


Tuesday, November 27th 2018, 6:10 pm
By: Alex Cameron


America is facing a "growing crisis of national defense." That's one of several troubling conclusions reached by the bipartisan National Defense Strategy Commission, whose co-chairs went before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

In a joint statement to Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, Ranking Member Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, and other members, the co-chairs, Ambassador Eric Edelman and Admiral Gary Roughead, wrote, "America's traditional military advantages are eroding rapidly because of our rivals' strategies and increasing capability and our complacency."

The report, which was mandated by Congress and released earlier this month, stresses the need to grow the military: "The Army, Navy, and Air Force all must grow," the co-chairs stated. But they say that can only happen with the allocation of adequate resources -- "Three-to-five percent annual real budgetary growth for defense over at least five years."

In his own opening statement, Sen. Inhofe echoed many of the concerns raised by the Commission, pointing out that defense spending went from $794 billion in Fiscal Year 2011 to $586 billion in FY 2015.

The Pentagon's budget is back up to $716 billion in the current fiscal year, but Sen. Inhofe expressed concern that the Trump administration is now balking at its own proposal to increase the budget to $733 billion.

"I believe that we're being very generous in terms of interpreting this, and saying that this $733 (billion)," Inhofe said, "is going to have to be looked at as a floor and not a ceiling."

In addition to growing the size of the military, the report says it's critical that funds be committed to modernize the U.S. military.

"We are operating a force today that was last modernized in the 1980's," said Adm. Roughead. "We are dealing with significant readiness challenges, and...with competitors who are moving very quickly in a very integrated civilian-military strategy."

The Commission co-chairs testified that a newly unveiled National Defense Strategy will take us in the right direction, but not without adequate resources.

They say, both in 2010 and 2014, predecessor commissions warned that our security could be at risk, if leadership didn't act.

"And in this report," stated Ambassador Edelman, "I think it was the unanimous view of all commissioners that we're on the cusp of a national security emergency, because of the waning of our military advantages, and the dangers that the current world presents."

Those dangers, they say, include threats posed by North Korea and Iran, as well as, by Middle East terror organizations.

But there is also the possibility, they say, of war with Russia in the Baltics, or war with China in defense of Taiwan -- conflicts which, the report states, "Bluntly, the U.S. could lose."

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