The Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), foreground, and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) conduct dual aircraft carrier strike group operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area. (Mass Communication Spec. 3rd Class Jake Greenberg/U.S. Navy)
The U.S. military is at an inflection point. Unable to remove itself completely from two protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has been forced to respond to a resurgent Russia and a rising China, while remaining ready to combat myriad terrorist threats around the world.
The Pentagon’s $582.7 billion 2017 budget has attempted to put in place an architecture for these new challenges, but, according to a group of experts from the Center for New American Security, a Washington-based think tank, the Pentagon will have to make some hard decisions if it wants to effectively combat the threats of the future.
The three experts, Jerry Hendrix, Paul Scharre and Elbridge Colby, have instead put together a report that uses a notional budget that implements a 2 percent increase over the 2017 budget to shape the U.S. military for the next 10 years.
“We have a military that’s in great shape to defeat Saddam Hussein’s army from the first Gulf War,” Colby said, adding that the Pentagon has focused on smaller numbers but invested in more high-tech pieces of equipment with mixed success. Under the proposed budget, the Navy would increase from 272 to 345 ships over 10 years, and the Air Force would gain more than 120 aircraft.
“Numbers matter,” Colby added.
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WNU Editor: Too many in the Pentagon and way too many politicians love the U.S. aircraft carrier program.... that reason (among many) is why this Navy program is not going to be terminated.