Concerns Rise Over U.S. Military’s Readiness Against Global Threats

According to the annual “Index of U.S. Military Strength” released by the conservative Heritage Foundation, the U.S. military faces significant challenges as it grapples with potential threats from China and Russia. The report highlights years of underfunding and poorly defined priorities, resulting in a weak military relative to the force required to defend national interests globally.

The report emphasizes that the current U.S. military force is at substantial risk of being unable to meet the demands of a single major regional conflict, let alone two nearly simultaneous significant disputes. The increased possibility of two-front fighting arises as Russia continues its aggression in Ukraine and China grows increasingly assertive in the Pacific.

The assessment categorizes the military services, with only the Marine Corps receiving a “strong” rating, while the Army is deemed “marginal.” The Space Force and Navy are labeled “weak,” the Air Force is rated as “very weak.”

The report acknowledges some improvement in military readiness but notes ongoing challenges in modernization programs, particularly in shipbuilding. The military’s capacity issues, including personnel and equipment shortages, are highlighted, with the Navy’s fleet size rated as “very weak.”

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) expressed concern about the Navy and Air Force, which are crucial in the Indo-Pacific theater, facing challenges despite being top priorities. The report calls for increased investment in military hardware, urging the Biden administration to allocate resources to enhance readiness and replace aging equipment.

Gallagher criticizes the administration’s “diplomacy-first” approach, warning of the need for a more robust military to counter growing Chinese aggression. He calls for an updated Defense Production Act to rebuild the munitions industrial base and emphasizes the importance of hard power.