Is the U.S. military ready for war?
After 16 years of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, this may seem a silly question…Yet, the four naval mishaps in the Pacific this year surely raise the question that if the Navy cannot avoid groundings and collisions, how ready is it to fight a major war against a peer or a modern military? Similarly, the same question pertains to our ground and air forces. For decades, our forces have operated in situations in which we enjoyed uncontested control of the air, seas, space and electromagnetic spectrum. Further, the United States has been able to bring to bear when needed overwhelming firepower. And our forces have gained huge experience in fighting the post-Sept. 11 wars.
But when was the last time an American fighter jet was shot down either by enemy aircraft or anti-aircraft weapon or a Navy warship sunk? When was the last battle fought between tanks and with artillery duels between competing armies? The answer was the second Iraq War in 2003 in which our losses were minimal…
After 16 years of waging a different form of warfare, we need to ensure our military is prepared for the next one and one that may be far more taxing. These naval mishaps may not be symptoms or precursors of larger failings. But we cannot take that chance.