2022’s Dangers

2022’s Dangers

Aggressive adversaries with technological capabilities exceeding the Pentagon’s, a declining U.S. defense industrial base, and a Presidential Administration that fails to take national security seriously all point to significant danger in 2022.

As 2021 drew to a close, massive Russian forces massed on the Ukrainian border in Europe, and China made every preparation necessary for an invasion of Taiwan. Both Beijing and Moscow had recently unveiled massive new advanced strategic nuclear weapons that neither the United States nor its allies possessed. The two nations had already tested space weapons designed to destroy American defense satellites, leaving the U.S. deaf, dumb, and blind in the event of an attack. Russian and Chinese forces trained and patrolled together, engaging in incursions near U.S. and NATO airspace and sea lanes. Putin threatened U.S. forces in the Black Sea.

With all this clearly evident, the Biden Administration sent a defense budget to Congress that would reduce the Pentagon’s spending power by about 3%, even though America’s armed forces were already overused and exhausted from fighting wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and still suffering from Obama-era cuts.

Some in Congress, seeking to divert funds to social programs designed to get Democrats re-elected, sought further cuts, despite the obvious hazards faced. They ignore the warnings from GOP representatives that the decline in America’s defenses are being intentionally ignored.

In March, fifty House Democrats banded together to urge significant cuts to funding for the armed forces. They advocated diverting hundreds of billions of dollars from the Pentagon to “diplomacy, humanitarian aid, global public health, sustainability initiatives, and basic research…climate change and human rights.”

There are attempts by the Biden Administration to even limit discussion of defense needs. U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, joined Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and four top Republicans in Congress, have sent a letter to Biden administration officials expressing grave concern over reports that the National Security Council has blocked the Department of Defense from making recommendations about changes to the United States’ nuclear declaratory policy through the ongoing Nuclear Posture Review.
In a letter sent to Biden’s appointees at the Defense Department, a number of Representatives warned that “It would be unwise and irresponsible to muzzle the considered advice of the U.S. government’s foremost experts on nuclear deterrence issues at the DOD, and throughout the interagency. It would also deprive the President of your views, the views of NATO allies, and those of our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. Further, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is statutorily obligated to provide his best military advice to the Commander-in-Chief on these important issues.”

The issue runs deeper than just the amount of funds available to support an adequate military. The U.S. defense industrial base has deteriorated. A Report from the Ronald Reagan Institute notes:
“The economic and national security threat from China cannot be ignored…The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that we can no longer afford to neglect the resiliency of our supply chains and defer capital investment in national security-critical sectors. … The Task Force identified six major challenges to revitalizing America’s manufacturing competitiveness. These include a significant skills gap, unsatisfactory productivity gains, inadequate investment in infrastructure, a fragile supplier ecosystem, insufficient coordination among government actors, and inadequate architecture for international competition.”

During its tenure in office, The Obama-Biden Administration failed to respond to Putin’s invasion and annexation of Crimea. It failed to even lodge a diplomatic protest when China invaded the Philippines exclusive economic zone. It sharply underfunded and hollowed out the U.S. military. Those devastating mistakes encouraged America’s adversaries, and the error is being repeated again.

Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy and Government

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