The U.S. military has consistently been engaged in various operations worldwide to safeguard American interests and those of its allies. However, under President Joe Biden, the military has faced significant challenges and is now strained to its limits.
Recruiting shortages have become a chronic issue, and the military has increased its presence in volatile regions across the globe during Biden’s presidency. A recent analysis by the Heritage Foundation’s 2024 Index of U.S. Military Strength indicates that the country is now at a critical juncture, with the military potentially unable to adequately defend the nation.
According to the report, the current state of the American military is deemed “weak” by editor and retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. Dakota Wood. The conflicts in Ukraine and Israel in 2023, along with the United States’ response to escalating tensions in the Middle East, have highlighted deficiencies in ammunition and weapons reserves, as well as the ability to effectively address multiple crises simultaneously as directed by the president.
“As currently postured, the U.S. military is at significant risk of not being able to defend America’s vital national interests,” the introduction to the index reads. The U.S. military received a ‘weak’ rating for the second year in a row ‘relative to the force needed to defend national interests on a global stage against actual challenges in the world as it is rather than as we wish it were,’” the report said.
Wood, the senior research fellow for defense programs at Heritage, expressed concerns about the age, inadequacy, and unreadiness of all branches of the armed services, as well as U.S. nuclear and missile defense capabilities. During a briefing with the DCNF before the report’s official publication, Wood highlighted these issues. Heritage identified various factors contributing to the decline in U.S. military strength, such as the prolonged deployment of forces beyond initial plans by the Pentagon, inadequate funding, deficiencies in the development and acquisition of weapon systems, and the frequent shifts in priorities and policies.
“When we say that the U.S. military is weak, it’s not an indictment of the individuals,” the men and women in service, Wood clarified. “If you had to go up against Russia or China or Iran or some other actor in the world, you’re just not going to have a sufficient amount of military power to go out.”
“If we now get super real, this is not just about recognizing the threat,” Elbridge Colby, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development, noted at a Heritage panel Wednesday. “We have to reevaluate like a business that’s about to go bankrupt.”
The Daily Caller reported:
“Heritage rated the Army as “marginal,” the Navy as “weak” and the Air Force as “very weak.” Only the Marine Corps came out as strong, thanks to its monumental modernization efforts focused on a worst-case-scenario fight with China, according to Wood, but it remains too small to accomplish the missions the Pentagon tasked it with in the previous year.
The Air Force fared worst of all, receiving a “very weak” rating. Besotted with a pilot shortage, it operates just 75% of the ready fighter aircraft needed to devote to two major conflicts at once, according to the report. Pilots also aren’t getting enough hours in the cockpit — less than 130 each year on average, which in the Cold War era would have rendered them combat ineffective, Wood told the DCNF.”
“There is not a fighter squadron in the Air Force that holds the readiness levels, competence, and confidence levels that are required to square off against a peer competitor,” the report added.
In his article on FoxNews.com, Chad Robichaux, a former Force Recon Marine, an Afghanistan veteran, and the founder of The Mighty Oaks Foundation, attributed a significant portion of the ongoing recruitment challenges to the Biden administration and the Democratic Party as a whole.
“This alarming trend is a self-inflicted wound from authoritarian pandemic policies, irresponsible and woke military leadership, and increasingly anti-American sentiments in society, all of which have drastically weakened national security,” he wrote in December.