Finally, the public is starting to hear that the U.S. Air Force is just as stressed as the other branches of service. Airmen who signed up for the most powerful air force in the world find themselves in a hollow force that spends more time worrying about sexual assault training and the compliance of minutiae. The Heritage foundation ran an independent assessment that pretty much concludes what today’s Airmen already know:
Readiness, fighter pilot proficiency, warfighter mindset, and manning have fallen to a modern era all-time low
War-fighting capacity has fallen to half of its stated objective
Standards of excellence and quality have deteriorated
I borrowed this pictorial from Slate, which oversimplifies the warring factions in the Middle East.
The summary here is that there are no good guys and bad guys here, but there is a range of conflicting beliefs and desired outcomes that are at odds with one another.
If this summary suffices, feel free to stop here. I encourage all three of you readers to use this as a starting point that will lead you to more thorough explanations of peace in the Middle East, or lack thereof.
How will Russia look in thirty years? Much like the Russia of the nineteenth century, with various accretions and broadly expanded influence. Ukraine and Azerbaijan are under pressure to join Russia. Former Soviet satellites Tajikstan and Kyrgysztan could rejoin the fold. What about Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan? Both have mineral and energy reserves that seem to be headed towards China right now. Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia could easily be added– by force if necessary. What about a hegemony that could include Syria and Iran?
That’s if Putin gets his way. He won’t. But that’s another story.
The real danger is the idea that our national security strategy requires constant global patrolling, alliances, interventions, and annual costs of nearly $600 billion. A strategy of restraint coupled with budgeting, acquisition, logistics, and personnel reform would reduce our military budget, save us a fortune, and keep us out of needless conflicts.
President Trump’s latest budget proposal includes a 10% increase to the Defense budget, which primarily consists of a restoration of the funding that had been reduced due to sequestration since 2011. However, the inflated Defense budget could be trimmed down a bit more by cutting out some of the unnecessary bureaucracy and middle management as we phase out of world policing. Perhaps the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, will usher in a new era where the United States transforms from the world police to the world referee, and does so with a leaner, meaner fighting force operating at a lower budget. https://warontherocks.com/2016/09/restrained-strategy-lower-military-budgets/