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God bless our military. The complete success of the raid that took out ISIS founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Bahgdadi is just the latest reminder of how good our forces are at taking the fight to the enemies of the United States. But not every threat to our safety can be eliminated by a daring helicopter raid and brave group of special forces. For most of them, we need to maintain our dominance in force training and technology. As was most famously President Ronald Reagan’s philosophy, we can only maintain peace through strength.
The idea should not be controversial – if it is known that you can take care of yourself, that you know how to fight, the schoolyard bully is much less likely to try and steal your lunch. No other nations have directly challenged the United States military because they know they’d lose, and lose badly.
But those nations likely to desire to challenge the US military are not sitting back on the military capacity they have, they’re scrambling to find new ways and weapons to be able to challenge us and our allies.
It was reported this week that North Korea is “running out of patience” with the United States. Of course, they’ve never really stopped their missile program either. Kim Jong-Un has no respect for life, beyond his own, so maintaining tactical dominance over him is important.
Similarly, Vladimir Putin isn’t likely to directly take on the U.S. military, but he is working feverishly to constantly upgrade his military capacity to find an advantage. Iran, too, has made it its goal to improve their missile capacity and build a nuclear weapon. China is flexing its muscles in Hong Kong and the South China Sea and there’s no reason to think their plans end there.
If we sit on what we have now, we will be lapped by one or more of them eventually. Just as bad, they will get to the point where they are confident enough to assert their military might even more in important regions they have influence in around the world.
We need to keep them in check by keeping them in our rearview mirror, from a military capacity perspective.
That means an “all of the above” strategy.
It would be nice if we could be content with what we have now, and if what we have now were perfect in perpetuity. But they know what we have, and use the goal of evading it as their benchmark in the development of new weapons systems. That means we have to constantly innovate.
The Space Force is one bold idea to keep the US.. on top. Depending on how it shakes out, it would give the U.S. an important advantage of surveillance and speed of action. The quicker we can detect a threat and react to it, the less likely the threat is to materialize in the first place.
One of the most important areas we need to maintain our superiority in is missile defense. All of these adversaries are focusing on creating missile systems to evade or overwhelm our current missile defenses. Any attack on our homeland will likely be in the form of a missile. Yet the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system, one of our best shields against the weapons hostile nations are developing, remains woefully under-deployed. Despite a directive from President Trump to do so, 20 new interceptors “are not in the ground protecting the American people.”
On sheer numbers, the Army missed its recruiting goal last year. A strong economy always makes recruiting lag, and the economy is booming under President Trump. Technology, through new weapons systems and missile defense systems, can help fill that hole, and are incredibly important even in times when recruiting is up.
Complacency is the enemy of security. And being the big kid on the block has enabled us to become complacent. But our enemies are never complacent. They have objectives that are the antithesis of our national and security interests. Only through maintaining our dominance can we keep them and their desires at bay without direct confrontation.
Liberals like to point out how much more we spend on our defense than other countries do. That we do affords them the luxury of being able to complain about it. We need to maintain our technological offensive and defensive advantages over the rest of the world in case we ever need it, but mostly in the hope that we don’t.