On Sunday, The Washington Times published a lead story that claims that budget cuts, the troop drawdown and fatigue from a 15 years of war have made the U.S. military dangerously unprepared fighting force, facing “spotty combat readiness, overburdened forces, more fatal accidents and beat-up weapons.”
Here are some of the statistics that reporter Rowan Scarborough cites in the piece:
- Representative Mac Thornberry says that the Marine Corps’ major, or “Class A,” accident rate has shot up from an average of 2.15 per 100,000 flying hours to 3.96.
- General Mark Milley, Army chief of staff, says their rotary pilots need a minimum of 14 flying hours a month to stay sharp but are getting only 10 hours.
- Senator John McCain says that the Navy’s fleet of 272 ships “is too small to address critical security challenges” and “the Marines have a requirement for 38 amphibious ships, but they only have 30 in the fleet.”
McCain criticized President Obama for not asking for more funds, but there’s general agreement that the source of the problem is the 2011 Budget Control Act, which mandated across-the-board cuts and then limited agency spending.
What do you think? Are we ready for combat? Do the reductions in military resources over the last five years make it more difficult for you to do your job? Sound off!