By John Ubaldi, “Ubaldi Reports
The world is currently experiencing a turbulent period unseen since before the Second World War, but a serious question needs to be asked, is America ready for any potential conflict should one arise.
Right now the U.S. is consumed with the ongoing crisis in the Middle East after the horrific terror attack by Hamas against Israel on October seventh, and the Biden administration has sent additional military resources to the region.
The Biden administration is currently consumed with a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, a potential regional war in the Middle East and China’s continual threat to invade Taiwan. A question needs to be asked is America ready for what may lay ahead, this despite spending close to a trillion dollar annual budget, the Pentagon is now ill-prepared to confront Beijing if it decides to invade Taiwan.
This should give every American pause, and as of right now the U.S. military is at its smallest level since before America’s entry into World War II, but unlike then we will not have the luxury of the time to rearm once conflict arises.
Nobody wants war, but to prevent conflict you have to be ready and the perception of our enemies is that under the Biden administration no one fears the United States, this is why Russia decided to invade Ukraine, Iran and its proxy forces are causing mayhem across the Middle East, coupled with China’s bellicose behavior throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
No one wants a conflict with China but as the famous Chinese General Sun Tzu stated, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
Even President George Washington reiterated this premise when speaking before a Joint Session of Congress by stating, “The surest way to preserve peace is to prepare for war,” unfortunately the Biden administration failed to understand this axiom, and his policies are contributing to the precipitous decline of the U.S. military.
Unfortunately, America with its massive defense budget is ill-prepared focusing far too much on woke training and spending in areas that aren’t prudent for what the U.S. may face in the future.
In the past few years various military exercises have been conducted and in each case the U.S. either loses or wins a pyric victory leaving America reeling in defeat which would take decades for America to recover from.
In 2021, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. John Hyten had to scuttle joint warfighting concepts which had guided U.S. military operations for decades. During the classified wargames, Hyten stated, “Without overstating the issue, it failed miserably. An aggressive red team that had been studying the United States for the last 20 years just ran rings around us. They knew exactly what we’re going to do before we did it.”
During the conflict the U.S. ran out of key munitions in a matter of a week, and was unable to replace them fast enough as America had depleted its defense industrial base. The Biden administration is telling defense contractors they must adhere to climate issues when manufacturing any weapons.
Ever since the end of the Cold War America’s military industrial base had been consolidated to only a few companies and in some cases a singular company makes many of the key munitions needed in any sustained conflict.
In January of this year, The Center for Strategic and International Studies issued a report which corroborated what General Hyten had stated. In its report CSIS developed a wargame for a Chinese amphibious invasion of Taiwan and ran it 24 times. In most scenarios, the United States/Taiwan/Japan defeated a conventional amphibious invasion by China and maintained an autonomous Taiwan. However, this defense came at high cost. The United States and its allies lost dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft, and tens of thousands of service members. Taiwan saw its economy devastated. Further, the high losses damaged the U.S. global position for many years.
In the CSIS report the U.S. expended vast amounts of key munitions and was unable to replace it fast enough, with two reasons identified, one we are shipping vast quantiles to Ukraine in its fight against Russia, with the Biden administration not replenishing its depleted munitions stockpile. The report stated it would take thirteen years to fully replenish all expended munitions.
One of the most disturbing analyses of the wargames is that that the U.S. is not ready for a conflict with Beijing as the U.S. is falling behind China in various military capabilities such hypersonic missile technology.
Right now our adversaries but especially the Chinese don’t fear the United States under the Biden presidency, as the president has shown weakness in every instance, beginning this year with the China flying a spy balloon across the country, and the various military provocations such as a Chinese naval ship passing in front of a U.S. Navy Destroyer.
Far too often the Biden administrations seems to be more concerned with pushing woke ideology instead the sole mission of the military which is to deter war and protect the homeland. The Biden administration has recalibrated this very basic axiom by Sun Tsu by focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion instead of the core military function of war fighting.
“The Report of the National Independent Panel on Military Service and Readiness,” highlights how civilian leaders are more concerned and vigorously pushing woke ideologies coupled with partisan politics over warfighting.
Just examine military recruitment, last year the U.S. Army missed its recruitment goal by 25%, and the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps are beginning fiscal year 2023, which began in October 50% below their normal recruiting numbers. Further contributing to this sever problem is the nation’s most loyal of all Americans, are military families, and they seem less likely to advocate military service.
The question that has to be asked, what is causing this decline? A recent poll found that many of those surveyed complain that “military leadership becoming overly politicized” and far too much effort is placed on ‘woke’ practice such as diversity, equity and inclusion that is undermining military readiness.
An additional survey found that 65% of active–duty military personnel to include women are more concerned with woke training and diversity, equity, and inclusion programs that are reducing physical fitness standards.
The armed forces are also facing a major troop retention problem, again for the same reasons. The report highlighted the fact that, “The perception that non-warfighting missions are distracting senior military leadership may alienate experienced, skilled and knowledgeable warfighters, incentivizing their early departure.”
I currently reside outside MacDill Air Force Base the home to three major regional combatant commands, speaking to one senior ranking military commander stated what others have mentioned far too often they spend far too much time on diversity, equity and inclusion at the expense of how to be better prepared for war.
Even this year the Heritage Foundation’s 2023 annual Index of U.S. Military Strength rated our Armed Forces preparedness “weak.”
The same report rates the various armed forces with only the Marine Corps being strong, the other branches receive marginal or weak rating hardly a ringing endorsement considering the challenges the U.S. faces from Russia, Iran and a very confrontational and expansionist China.
Each year the U.S. military is falling further behind in being unprepared for any future conflict, in 2021, a report detailing the preparedness of the Navy titled “Is The U.S. Navy Ready for War?” conducted by retired Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle and Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, found that the Navy as an institution is adrift, more concerned more with diversity training then preparing for actual warfighting.
Throughout the report a disturbing trend emerges that senior naval commanders were more concerned with staying off the front page of the news, operating under a zero defect command structure, where one mistake would end your career. If this system was in place during World War II, four of our most cherished commanders who led U.S. to victory, Admiral Nimez, Halsey, King, and Leahy would never had made it to the rank of captain led alone been selected as admirals.
The Wall Street Journal reports reported a significant part of the problems discounted by the United States is of industrial origin: the process of radical consolidation of the US defense industry into a few conglomerates with high political and economic influence has deprived the Pentagon of options and production capacity. US shipyards, for example, are struggling to produce the submarines needed to face China’s increasingly vast and modern navy, and Washington has accumulated a worrying technological lag behind China and Russia in terms of hypersonic weapons.
The former Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Philip S. Davidson testified before the Senate Armed Service Committee on U.S. Indo-Pacific command posture by stating, “The greatest danger for the United States in this competition is the erosion of conventional deterrence. A combat-credible, conventional deterrent posture is necessary to prevent conflict, protect U.S. interests, and to assure our allies and partners. Absent a convincing deterrent, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will be emboldened to take action to undermine the rules based international order and the values represented in our vision for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. The combination of the PRC’s military modernization program and willingness to intimidate its neighbors through the use, or threatened use of force, undermines peace, security, and prosperity in the region.”
In his continued testimony, Admiral Davidson stated, “The PRC represents our greatest strategic threat. Its rapidly advancing capabilities and increasingly competitive posture underscore its drive to become a regionally dominant, globally influential power. Beijing is growing increasingly confident, and PRC leaders have demonstrated a willingness to accept friction to pursue a more expansive set of political, economic, and security interests. This growing assertiveness is particularly acute concerning sovereignty disputes, as Beijing seeks to steadily and incrementally shift the regional status quo to their advantage.”
The other problem both Democrats and Republicans fail or will not address is the bloated and mismanaged budget of the U.S. Defense Department.
The questioned I raised earlier in this article, why is the U.S. military so ill-prepared for conflict with China when it has nearly a trillion dollars in an annual budget?
In his last days in office, President Eisenhower gave his famous farewell address urging the nation to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” In the proceeding decades the U.S. has consistently failed to address the antiquated procurement and acquisition of the Pentagon budgetary system.
Historians often reference the iconic term Eisenhower referencing the “military industrial complex,” but one has to look back at the original draft to find what Eisenhower originally wanted to include was the “congressional military industrial complex,” but he deemed that phrase too inflammatory and it was stricken from the official text.
Eisenhower was speaking from past experience while serving as president, far too often military leaders who always seek the latest weapons program without contemplating future threats to the United States. Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies wrote a report titled, “Ending America’s Grand Strategic Failures” that “The U.S. has made progress in one area: making increases in the defense budget, but far too many of these increases have gone to funding the readiness and the shopping lists of the U.S. military services. There have been few original ideas and changes that have actually benefited national security.”
Even the military historian at the Hoover Institute Victor Davis Hanson echoed this sentiment, “Our Pentagon suffers from a huge overhead in clumsy and wasteful procurements, unsustainable retirement pensions and benefits, and often poor weapon investment choices. Too many of its top brass and retired officer corps have become politicized. Many of our four-stars seem more attuned to leveraging politically correct promotions and post-retirement corporate board memberships than focusing on military readiness and deterrence.”
The nation’s political leadership of both parties utilizes the Pentagon as a job creation program for their states or districts, Democrats often want a leaner Defense department and want weapons systems reduced except when it targets their state or district. Republican’s want greater defense spending without any forethought on how that money is spent and on what weapon’s program.
Then you have many members of Congress, Senate and their staffs upon leaving government service often obtain positions with many of the major defense contractors, this includes retired generals. Case in point is current Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin upon retiring from the military in 2016, joined the boards of major U.S. companies including Raytheon Technologies, a major defense contractor.
He follows the same trajectory as other former senior military commanders, who obtained lucrative defense assignments with many leading defense contractors.
Cordesman also mentioned that “The cost of U.S. defense has escalated far beyond $700 billion a year without any clear sense of direction, and it has done so at a time when even the highest estimates of Chinese spending do not go beyond $250 billion and estimates of Russian spending rarely go beyond $62 billion. There are no areas where increases in spending have been publicly tied to net assessments of the threat or to the comparative effectiveness of each side’s military spending.”
To date there has been no future strategic defense strategy, and nothing of future strategy, with the only changes being recommended coming from the combatant commands instead of the nation’s military leadership of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the heavy bureaucratic Office of the Secretary of Defense.
The time has come to institute a 21st century reform that encompasses all federal spending and that includes overhauling the antiquated acquisition and procurement of the Department of Defense.
National defense and political leaders need to revert back to the mission statement of the Department of Defense which states; “It’s responsible for providing the military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of our country.”
Any national defense budget must meet one requirement, how does this provide the military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of our country? The Department of Defense spends just over $800 billion, but is the U.S. spending wisely or is there programs that could be eliminated, are there duplication between services that can be consolidated; do we need everything currently allocated?
Admiral Davidson gave his recommendations on what is needed to prevent a conflict in Asia, but are the nation’s military and political leaders listening?
If the nation’s defense resources are wasted on parochial spending that lacks strategic thought on how the U.S. military fights the next conflict, or if the U.S. military continues on this woke ideology of diversity, equity and inclusion over warfighting we fail to prepare for the next war, and we will lose!