The aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), USS Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are in port at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. US Navy Photo
David Petraeus and Michael O'Hanlon, WSJ: The Myth of a U.S. Military ‘Readiness’ Crisis
Sequestration cuts have presented challenges. But America’s fighting forces remain second to none.
U.S. military readiness is again a hot issue in the presidential election, but unfortunately the current debate glosses over some of the most important facts. While Congress’s sequestration-mandated cuts to military spending have hurt preparedness, America’s fighting forces remain ready for battle. They have extensive combat experience across multiple theaters since 9/11, a tremendous high-tech defense industry supplying advanced weaponry, and support from an extraordinary intelligence community.
For those concerned that America’s military is in decline or somehow not up to the next challenge, we offer a few reassuring facts:
• The current national defense budget of over $600 billion a year far exceeds the Cold War average of about $525 billion (in inflation-adjusted 2016 dollars) and the $400 billion spent in 2001, according to official Pentagon and Office of Management and Budget data. The national defense budget, which doesn’t include Veterans Affairs or the Department of Homeland Security, constitutes 35% of global military spending and is more than that of the next eight countries—including China and Russia—combined. Spending has been reduced from the levels of the late Bush and early Obama years, but that isn’t unreasonable in light of scaled-down combat operations abroad and fiscal pressures at home.
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WNU Editor: Is the U.S. military facing a 'readiness crisis'? With a defense budget of $600 billion .... I hope not.