The Military Readiness Report to Congress shows that military forces are not strong enough to protect vital American national security interests.
According to the Department of Defense, current military services are smaller and less combat ready than they have been in many years, USA Today noted. Furthermore, each military service has been forced to cut critical needs in areas such as training, maintenance, and modernization due to budgetary constraints.
In the report, which was released on Tuesday by the U.S Government Accountability Office (GAO), there are five key challenges that significantly affect the DOD's ability to function optimally.
The report listed the DOD's need to rebalance and rebuild readiness; mitigate threats to cyberspace and expand cyber capabilities; control the escalating costs and better manage finances; strategically manage its human capital; and achieve greater efficiencies in defense business operations.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis commented on the issue on Monday, saying he was shocked by the poor state of the U.S military's readiness for combat, reported CBS News.
He blamed Congress for its inability to approve budgets on time or repeal a law that strictly limits defense spending.
In a briefing to the House Armed Services Committee, Mattis said that, while nothing could compare to the heartache caused by the loss of the troops during recent wars, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the military than sequestration.
Expanding on this topic, The Heritage Foundation’s Index of U.S. Military Strength for 2017 reported that forced degradation was a common theme across the services and the U.S. nuclear enterprise. This was largely due to years of underinvestment, poor execution of modernization programs, and the negative effects of budget sequestration on readiness and capacity.
The Index rated Army forces as "weak" while Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and nuclear capabilities ranked as "marginal."
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