For as long as we’ve lived — and really, for all of our parents’ and grandparents’ lives too — one of our basic assumptions as Americans is that our military forces are the mightiest on the planet. In large wars and small, this has proven true throughout our history. Whether it was wars with a single country — Great Britain, to name the first — or a global conflagration like World War II, we fought with valor, distinction and with every resource we needed to muster. And we won.
Commission member Kathleen Hicks, a Pentagon official during the Obama administration, says, “There is a strong fear of complacency, that people have become so used to the United States achieving what it wants in the world, to include militarily, that it isn’t heeding the warning signs. It’s the flashing red that we are trying to relay.”
The report actually underlines many of the objectives already established by the Trump administration, in its 2018 National Defense Strategy, which ordered sweeping changes in our military to better compete with Russia and China. But with military spending flat and facing the possibility of decline with a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives, the commission argues that we won’t be able to catch up. It says we need sharp increases in spending, especially to modernize the weaponry available to our armed forces. It urges the expansion of the Navy’s submarine fleet and sealift forces, improved stealth and reconnaissance aircraft for the Air Force and more armor, air defense and long-range missiles for the Army.