The United States is not guaranteed to prevail in its next conflict, given the gains achieved by the nation’s adversaries in upgrading their military capabilities while the U.S. military was held back as it contended with stringent spending constraints, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Defense Strategy Commission. “If the United States had to fight Russia in a Baltic contingency or China in a war over Taiwan,” the authors wrote, “Americans could face a decisive military defeat.” That risk would rise even further if the nation faced conflicts on multiple fronts, reported Defense News.
The bipartisan commission is composed of 12 experts selected by congressional leadership. It is co-chaired by Eric Edelman, a former ambassador and undersecretary of defense for policy from 2005-2009, and Gary Roughead, who served as chief of naval operations from 2007 to 2011.
The panel recommends 3 to 5 percent real growth annually in defense spending, matching the requirement expressed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis last year, reported CQ. “The United States must begin responding more effectively to the operational challenges posed by our competitors and force those competitors to respond to challenges of our making,” the report states.
“America’s military superiority has eroded to a dangerous degree,” it concludes. Unless action is taken, “the consequences will be grave and lasting.”
Marine Corps photo by Cpl. A. J. Van Fredenberg