Experts of the very influential brain trust of the American ruling elite of the Heritage Foundation (Heritage Foundation) have released the next, fourth analytical work entitled “The US Military Power - 2018” (2018 Index of US Military Strength). This foundation is the think tank of conservative circles in the US Congress, and its experts have fairly close ties with the Donald Trump administration. Lawmakers, officials and the military quite actively use the conclusions and recommendations of analysts in the process of formulating an approach to the development of the Armed Forces (VS) and the formation of foreign policy installations. As in last year’s report, the experts stated that the US armed forces continue to degrade or remain in place in their development, while the US security threat continues to only increase. The document assesses the global space of operation of the American military and determines its state at the present stage.
ANALYTIC THESES AND EVALUATION OF THE REPORT
As noted in the report, at the present stage, the combat readiness of most of the types and types of troops of the US Armed Forces has decreased significantly, and their combat effectiveness has fallen to an almost unacceptable level. Today, the troops can no longer fully ensure the solution of the whole complex of tasks of ensuring national security and defending the interests of America in various regions of the planet.
The state of each of the types and types of troops of the US Armed Forces in terms of combat equipment and the ability to solve the tasks set by the Foundation specialists was assessed on a five-point scale: “very bad”, “bad”, “maximum allowable”, “good” and “very good” that is, from one to five.
The document states that for decades the US military potential and the determination of the ruling circles of America to immediately counter the external threat did not allow its potential adversaries to take any action aimed at damaging the country's internal security and undermining its national interests abroad. But over time, two of these components of the military-political instrument of the United States have undergone a certain erosion, the effectiveness of deterring the enemies of the White House against the background of a significant deterioration in the world situation has decreased significantly.
In 2012, the United States Army (Ground Forces) included 45 combat brigades. Currently, their number has been reduced to 31 units. These brigades make up the core of the troops providing ground operations. But today, only a third of these military formations have the necessary level of combat readiness, and only three of them are able to immediately turn around in their area of responsibility in the theater of military operations and directly engage in hostilities immediately after receiving the order.
Air Force lacks about one thousand pilots for fighter aviation and more than three thousand technicians. And of the 36 squadrons of this type of aircraft, which should be in constant combat readiness, only four are able to immediately begin hostilities.
Only 41% of naval aircraft at the end of last year were ready for combat use. Today, about one third of warships are involved in naval operations. A military potential fleet reduced to an unacceptable level.
In 2017, the combat capabilities of the Marine Corps (ILC) divisions decreased significantly, their combat capability rating and combat readiness level can only be classified as “weak”. Over the past five years, the number of KMP personnel has decreased by almost 10%. In 2012, the KMP consisted of more than 200 thousand soldiers and officers, at present their number is slightly more than 180 thousand people. Such an assessment of experts suggests that 50% of the Army and the ILC brigades do not meet modern requirements for ensuring US national security.
The foundation's experts concluded that the Pentagon to achieve victory while waging a simultaneous war with America’s two main opponents, which for some reason were not specifically named, requires 50 combat brigades of the Navy, armed with Navy 346 ships and 624 attack aircraft, the Air Force should have 1200 fighter and assault aircraft, and the ILC should include 36 combat battalions.
"ULTIMIZED" MILITARY FORCE
The authors of the report gave an assessment of the state of the US nuclear triad. Its components were also evaluated on a five-point scale. The level of safety of nuclear warheads, the reliability of their means of delivery to the goal and the effectiveness of the process of upgrading these tools, scientists rated "good." The effectiveness of the system of development, production and testing of nuclear weapons, the processes of modernization of warheads, as well as the readiness of the Pentagon to conduct full-scale nuclear tests were rated "bad." The combat readiness of the components of the nuclear triad, the guaranteed level of deterrence of hostile countries from delivering nuclear strikes on America’s allies and the level of professional laboratories in the nuclear laboratories were considered “satisfactory” by the Foundation’s scientists. In general, the state of the US nuclear forces and their ability to ensure national security experts assessed as "maximum allowable", put them three, and no more.
The presentation of this very voluminous report (more than 400 pages) took place on October 5 this year. in the building of the Institute of National Security and Foreign Policy. Davis (Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy), a member of the Heritage Foundation. The first to discuss the new report of the fund was the chairman of the Armed Forces Committee (FAC) of the House of Representatives Mark Thornberry. The chairman said that America was unable to provide supplies to its Armed Forces on a scale commensurate with their tasks. “It may be more alarming that we ourselves did not provide military resources commensurate with our moral obligation to support men and women who risk their lives for us,” Thornberry said.
He also said that today "power is the pledge of peace." As the head of the FAC emphasized, at any time and in any circumstances it is to be hoped that conflicts can be avoided. But when it comes to armed conflict, to win, you have to rely only on force over and over again. “In this regard, I believe that the title of the report is very appropriate. Military power is what supports the world, ”Thornberry concluded.
The chief editor of the published document, a senior fellow at the Dakota Wood Foundation, said that the Armed Forces inherited by the new US president were "too outdated." The specialist stressed that most of the representatives of political, military and scientific circles with whom he discussed the state of the US Armed Forces, agreed that their numbers are "too small, and the material base is extremely outdated."
According to the scientist, today the Pentagon should provide a solution to two problems. First of all, it is necessary to completely upgrade the fleet of weapons and military equipment, since most of the systems in service were delivered to the troops in the 70 and 80 of the last century. In addition, in recent years there has been a sharp decrease in the combat readiness of the US Armed Forces, which should immediately be significantly increased.
Another author of the report, retired Lieutenant General of the United States Army, director of the National Defense Center, a member of the Heritage Foundation, Tom Spoyer, described the fund’s new work as follows: “Many think tanks release reports on national defense issues. However, none of them have ever published the US Military Power Index, as the Heritage Foundation does. This document provides a comprehensive, authoritative, and confirmed by the opinion of many analysts and experts, an assessment of the threat to America and the ability of its Armed Forces to respond to any emerging challenge. ” He also noted that this report is the most important source of information on defense issues and a very effective tool for analyzing data.
UNACCEPTABLE AGGRESSIVE RUSSIA
One of the sections of the report is devoted to assessing the threat to the United States and its NATO allies coming from Europe. Experts of the foundation, after a thorough study of a multitude of very different materials (256) concerning the issues of the foreign policy activities of the Russian Federation and the development of its Armed Forces, concluded that Moscow is the main source of danger for America and other Western countries.
As the Heritage analysts concluded, even though the threat to the territorial part of the United States, coming from Russia, is quite low today, the Kremlin has powerful enough forces to strike at America with ordinary forces, and in the event of a nuclear war, create a threat to even the very existence of the United States. However, the leadership of Russia and its military leaders, scientists note, officially demonstrate their commitment to peaceful coexistence with the United States.
True, the situation is changing dramatically when it comes to Washington’s European allies, experts of the foundation say. In accordance with treaty obligations to NATO countries, the United States will have to provide them with all necessary assistance in the event of external aggression. Russia continues to look for ways to destroy the North Atlantic alliance and seriously threatens the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Western European countries.
According to the authors of the labor, modern Russia, unlike the USSR during the Cold War, is no longer a threat to the global interests of the United States. But the activity of its Armed Forces in the areas bordering on the European members of NATO and their partners causes certain damage to the interests of the United States and the countries indicated. Russia has a wide range of possibilities for attacking its opponents on land, air and sea theaters, as well as in outer space and cyberspace. It has a very powerful strategic nuclear forces (SNF), atomic bombs and missiles of Russia in no case can be discounted from the point of view of protecting the interests of the United States and its European allies, although its nuclear attack on the United States is highly unlikely.
At the present stage, analysts of the foundation state, Russia has the largest arsenal among nuclear powers, given its tactical nuclear weapons. It is one of the few countries capable of hitting any target on the territory of the United States and its allies, as well as to some extent restricting other countries ’access to areas and resources of international importance. Today, the Kremlin is investing heavily in upgrading its strategic nuclear forces, in the training and education of the personnel of their units.
In March of this year, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Armed Forces of Europe in Europe and the Commander of the European Command of the US Armed Forces, General Curtis Scaparrotti, said that the large stocks of tactical nuclear weapons that Russia has in the area of responsibility of the European Command, its military doctrine , pose a great risk to the stability of the situation in the world and cause serious concern to the Pentagon.
Especially the White House and the Pentagon are worried about the restoration of Russian units of railway-based ICBMs, which are almost impossible to detect. The Kremlin plans to begin tests of Combat Railway Rocket Systems (BZHRK) in 2019 year, and in a year they should be put into service with the SNF. According to American scientists, five BZHRK regiments will be created, which will be armed with 30 ICBMs.
Assessing Russia's nuclear capabilities, the foundation's experts concluded that its significant nuclear arsenal is the only threat to the existence of the United States coming from Europe and Eurasia. The probability of Moscow using its nuclear weapons, according to numerous American experts, remains extremely low. But the fact that it threatens Europe with such weapons, say the report’s drafters, confirms that the nuclear arsenal plays a crucial role in shaping the military and political thinking of the leaders of Russia and determines the aggressiveness of their foreign policy positions.
One of the most important tools of the Russian leadership, seeking to cause damage to the national interests of the United States, is espionage. The agents of the special services of Russia are very actively recruiting intelligence officers of hostile and friendly countries, as well as specialists and ordinary citizens to obtain the necessary information. This process is permanent and endless.
Experts also assessed the danger to Western countries in outer space and cyberspace, behind which the Kremlin stands. She, too, was rated extremely high. The propaganda actions of the Russian leadership, taken in the most diverse areas of the information space to ascertain the significance of Moscow and expand its influence in the world, received a similar assessment.
According to the foundation's experts, Russia is seeking to maximize its strategic position in the world at the expense of the United States. She wants to significantly reduce the level of influence of Washington and undermine the moral position of America as a champion of the security of the planet. Moscow is making all the necessary efforts to weaken the US and NATO forces, sabotaging the political positions of the White House and the leaders of other Western countries in Syria. In addition, the Russian leadership is looking for ways to increase its influence in the countries of the eastern Balkans and is actively conducting propaganda campaigns in Europe and even in the United States. The facts testifying to the endless aggressiveness of Russia and its intention to use any methods to achieve the objectives, as the authors of the report announced, gave them reason to rate the threat posed by it as the highest and unacceptable. True, in fairness it should be said that the bulk of the arguments of the Fund’s experts regarding Russia are fictional and have nothing to do with the true state of affairs.
Moscow remains the main threat to Washington
- Vladimir Ivanov