Special to WorldTribune, December 22, 2022
Commentary by Laurence F Sanford
How woke military leaders are hollowing out America’s military with woke Marxist racist Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (DIE) was the focus of Part I [‘Paper Tiger’: Woke leadership has transformed the U.S. military]. Instead of instilling a sense of unity and pride in being American, the woke culture promotes racial divide and shame in American history.
One should not be surprised therefore, that U.S. military recruiting and retention rates have fallen dramatically and are well below military needs to safeguard America.
The Heritage Foundation, a premier think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C., issued an “Executive Summary of the 2023 Index of U.S. Military Strength”. It rated the U.S. military as “weak” and not able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital interests. The analysis concluded:
__ The Army is “Marginal” and is aging faster than it is modernizing. It remains “weak” in capacity, with only 62 percent of the force it should have.
__ The Navy is “Weak” with a need for a 400-ship manned fleet when it only has 298 ships. By 2037 the ship count will be 280. Current and forecasted funding will not change this decline.
__The Air Force is “Very Weak,” with very low cockpit time for pilot training and aging of the aircraft fleet. It is at 86 percent capacity, short 650 pilots, and the average age of fighter aircraft is 32 years.
__ The Marine Corps is rated “Strong.”
__ The Space Force is “weak.” The counterforce space systems are inadequate to win a conflict in space.
__ The Nuclear Capabilities are “strong” but trending toward “weak.”
China is America’s greatest existential threat. The head of the U.S. Strategic Command, Adm. Charles Richard, recently alerted the world that “the ship is slowly sinking” when it comes to deterrence against China. At the current pace of buildup, China will soon overtake America’s nuclear forces. Over 300 new missile silos are being constructed in China, and they are also building the fractional orbital bombardment system weapon, which would provide for a nuclear first-strike capability.
Related — ‘The big one is coming’: Strategic Command chief delivers blunt-spoken exit warning, November 9, 2022
The U.S. Air Force is old. The average age of the entire fleet is 30 years old. Eight fleets average over 50 years, with the B-52 Stratofortress bomber fleet averaging 60 years. It was introduced into service in 1954 as one leg of the nuclear triad; the other two legs are nuclear missiles in submarines and in land-based silos. The B-52 platform has been continually upgraded with electronics and radar systems, and a multi-billion dollar engine upgrade is in progress. This will extend the B-52’s shelf life until the 2050s, or 100 years of service.
The Navy fleet is also aging, with the Navy extending ship shelf life to build up fleet count. Then there is the issue of fleet count versus surviving a Chinese missile attack. Since the U.K. — Argentine Falkland War in 1982 up to the present day Russia — Ukraine War, missiles have demonstrated the ability to sink surface ships at a relatively low cost and a high degree of success. What is more important than fleet count is the survivability count. Submarines are the most survivable. Aircraft carriers are waddling ducks to Chinese anti-ship missiles.
The U.S. submarine fleet of 50 attack subs and 18 ballistic launching subs is survivable. However, it is all nuclear and thus very costly, with the newest attack subs costing approximately $6 billion each. The newest diesel-electric submarines cost one-tenth the cost of a nuclear sub, with almost the same stealth capabilities. China’s submarine total of 76 is expected to surpass the U.S. by 2030. Other naval issues are a lack of shipyard and repair facilities, thus the inability to increase ship production.
The Army is shrinking and has major recruiting/retention problems. Woke leadership, Wuhan virus mandates, and extended deployments are all affecting Army readiness. Military ammunition stockpiles are being rapidly depleted in supplying Ukraine with arms, but the U.S. does not have the industrial capacity to quickly re-stock. Also, certain raw materials used by the military are sourced from China and Russia.
The Space Force faces China’s space weapons that can” blind and deafen” American satellites in space. China has invested heavily in space weapons and has demonstrated the ability to destroy U.S. space systems.
The very existence of the United States is at stake. China has embarked on the greatest military buildup in history. It now challenges the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Space Force in lethality and numbers. The current alliance with Russia further adds to the danger.
The U.S. spends approximately 3% of its GDP on the military. This represents 20% of the budget, while social services spending represents over 50%. Interest costs on the $31 trillion in debt are skyrocketing and will account for over 10% of the budget by 2030. The latest defense budget increase of 5% has been consumed by the 8% inflation rate. In other words, the military budget’s buying power has shrunk.
In President Reagan’s time, the military budget represented 5% of the GDP. NATO countries spend less than 2%. The military is aging, and its equipment is failing. The United States and its allies need to increase military spending. What good is social spending if the country cannot defend itself?
Not only is China threatening America externally, but it is also threatening America internally. America needs to recognize the danger and implement “Quid Pro Quo” policies. If the United States is restricted in China, then the same should apply to China in the United States.
Citizens — Recognize the danger and participate in and support organizations that are raising public awareness to the dangers of China. Contact your elected officials and elect officials who recognize these external dangers as well as the damage caused by self-destructive woke policies.
Peace Through Strength
We have met the enemy, and he/she is us.
Laurence Sanford graduated from Boston College and then served in the U.S. Navy Pacific fleet from 1963 to 1966. He then served as an officer in the clandestine service of the Central Intelligence Agency for over 4 years, including a two-year assignment in Hong Kong. Mr. Sanford serves as a Senior Analyst with the American Security Council Foundation and is also President of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers — Florida Satellite Chapter.