A top US military commander has warned that the power of America’s military deterrent is ‘fading’ – and that America might not be adequately prepared for a large-scale military engagement.
“This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup,” Navy Admiral Charles Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said at a conference last week, according to the WSJ Editorial Board.
“The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested” for “a long time.”
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According to Richard, things are getting worse.
“As I assess our level of deterrence against China, the ship is slowly sinking. It is sinking slowly, but it is sinking, as fundamentally they are putting capability in the field faster than we are,” he said, adding “as those curves keep going,” it won’t matter “how good our commanders are, or how good our horses are—we’re not going to have enough of them. And that is a very near-term problem.”
Note that modifier “near-term.” This is a more urgent vulnerability than most of the political class cares to recognize.
Adm. Richard noted that America retains an advantage in submarines—“maybe the only true asymmetric advantage we still have”—but even that may erode unless America picks up the pace “getting our maintenance problems fixed, getting new construction going.” Building three Virginia-class fast-attack submarines a year would be a good place to start. -WSJ
Meanwhile, America was caught flat-footed last year when China tested a hypersonic missile that flew around the world. This means that Beijing can put any US city or facility at risk – perhaps without even being detected.
As the Editorial Board aptly notes; How we lost the hypersonic race to China and Russia deserves hearings in Congress.
Educating the public about U.S. military weaknesses runs the risk of encouraging adversaries to exploit them. But the greater risk today is slouching ahead in blind complacency until China invades Taiwan or takes some other action that damages U.S. interests or allies because Bejiing thinks the U.S. can do nothing about it. -WSJ
“We used to know how to move fast, and we have lost the art of that,” said Richard, who says the military talks “about how we are going to mitigate our assumed eventual failure” to keep up when it comes to ballistic subs, bombers or long range weapons.