Ever since the end of the Second World War it’s consistently been the policy of the United States civilian leadership that our nation’s armed forces be capable not only of fighting two wars simultaneously, but also to win. However, in the advent of the Obama budget cuts in the past, as well as those scheduled for next year, real questions remain if America’s military could even successfully conduct a winning strategy in just one theater of war.
As reported by DoD News, Defense Media Activity on April 1, 2015, the head honchos for both the Marine Corps and the Navy paint a bleak picture if and when our Sea Services are ordered into a shooting war. Not only effecting the wet side of the Pentagon, the Military Times notes on April 2, 2015, that the combat readiness of the U.S. Army is at “historically low levels,” and our Air Force has stated in an official release on Mar. 27, 2015, that the fly boys are “currently less than 50 percent ready.”
With frank talk and worries of sugar coating things obviously not a priority of the Service Chiefs, little was held back. Perhaps best summing up the situation of all Branches was the opinion of the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert when he said of the White House ordered cuts “In real terms, this means longer timelines to achieve victory, more military and civilian lives lost, and potentially less credibility to deter adversaries and assure allies.”
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Adm. Greenert flatly informed the lawmakers that if there are further reductions to the military, the budget cuts would “put U.S. sailors’ and Marines’ lives at increased risk, and negatively impact military readiness and national security.” The Commandant of the Marine Corps General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. reported to the committee that as far as the Marines under his charge are concerned “over half of nondeployed units report unacceptable levels of readiness.”
Meanwhile, the Army’s Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno, the Army is “only generating enough readiness for immediate consumption” while grappling with cuts that have left only a third of the service’s brigades ready. As reported, “the Army has cut 80,000 soldiers out of the active force, reorganized and cut 13 brigade combat teams and three aviation brigades from the active component. Investment in modernization is down by 25 percent, Odierno said, sidelining ‘much-needed’ infantry fighting vehicle modernization and a scout helicopter development program.”
The Air Force’s Vice Chief of Staff General Larry Spencer told Congress that the combat air forces are currently less than 50 percent ready. The General stated the Air Force was forced to make cuts to readiness funding when sequestration hit in 2013, however, those cuts came with a price.
“When sequestration first hit in 2013 … the readiness levels of those central to combat operations plummeted,” Spencer said. “If we get called upon, we have to be there within hours – not days, weeks, or months – so readiness is critical for us. We were not fully ready, and we cannot afford to let that happen again.”