But strong as our military is, it is not strong enough. One defense policy report puts it starkly: the current US military force is too small, its equipment is too old, and it is not trained or ready for a large or long fight.
There is no quick fix; a problem that has taken years to develop will take years to resolve – several years of consistent budgeting and strategy to rebuild and maintain
unquestioned and overwhelming military superiority over any potential nation-state aggressor and strengthen our defense against any potential cyber attack whether by a state or rogue actors.
We must display a current willingness to use all available and appropriate military and technical means against terrorist groups, including drones, state-of-the-art surveillance techniques and our superior special operations capabilities.
In today’s troubled world, we must be prepared to confront multiple challenges simultaneously – against terrorists, nation states and rogue actors – and, preferably, be prepared to do so in concert with others in a coalition of like-minded states.
A strategy and action to further these objectives against adversaries – to deter where possible and defeat where necessary – is overridingly important and in the Obama era, tragically deficient or altogether lacking.
As U.S. News asserted last year, a National Security Strategy should be judged against these criteria: Has it created the conditions for American survival, prosperity, primacy and respect on the international scene?
Currently, the answers to those questions are ‘No.’ That must change and doing so means reversing the multi-year declining trend in military spending. Our Army, Navy and Air Force must grow, not shrink, as they are presently doing.
And all of this – from the statement of strategy to the planning of budgets – requires clarity and coherence. It requires that we say what we mean and mean what we say, avoiding bluster and false promises. It requires that our leaders, executive and legislative, not only recognize the seriousness and gravity of the current world situation but also ensure that their rhetoric is equal to it and matches that seriousness.