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Now is not the time for military conflict with Iran or Venezuela

19 3 0

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, generally followed the same script when he testified in recent congressional budget hearings: U.S. engagement in multiple military operations in the Middle East has allowed Russia and China to modernize their militaries and close the gap with the United States.

His explanation has been used as justification to pump more money into the services.

But this comes at a time when the Department of Defense (DOD) has clear strategies but unclear follow-through.

Many uniformed officials have cited the DOD’s National Defense Strategy (NDS) as their reasoning for big budget acquisitions. However, the NDS’s prioritization of great power competition with China and Russia appears stillborn when viewed alongside the reprogramming of funds for the support mission on the southern border, ongoing operations in the Middle East, and administration officials, such as National Security Adviser John Bolton, pressing for more aggressive action against Venezuela and Iran.

Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, has said the Navy has “more mission than we have forces to do the mission,” with only a “50 percent batting average in terms of meeting combatant commander demands.”

But he attempts to explain this away by saying that it is part of the “dynamic force employment” concept, in which fleets will be rotated to different combatant commands as needed.

As a sterling example of the concept, Richardson heralded the hastened deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln Strike Group from EUCOM to CENTCOM weeks ahead of schedule in response to what was characterized as “identified credible threats” from Iran.

But not having assets already in-theater would have posed a risk had there been a large-scale attack and not a threat. The situation could be worsened by engaging in large-scale operations........

© The Asahi Shimbun