The conservative Heritage Foundation will on Thursday release the 2020 iteration of its Index of Military Strength, which it touts as the most comprehensive third-party assessment of the United States Armed Forces’ ability to provide for the common defense.
The following is from the Report’s Executive Summary:
- The 2020 Index concludes that the current U.S. military force is likely capable of meeting the demands of a single major regional conflict while also attending to various presence and engagement activities but that it would be very hard-pressed to do more and certainly would be ill-equipped to handle two nearly simultaneous major regional contingencies. The military services have prioritized readiness and seen improvement over the past couple of years, but modernization programs continue to suffer as resources are redirected toward current operations and sustainment of readiness levels. The services have also normalized the reduction in size and number of military units, and the forces remain well below the level needed to meet the two-MRC benchmark.
- In the aggregate, the United States’ military posture is rated “marginal” and features both positive and negative trends: progress in bringing some new equipment into the force, filling gaps in manpower, and rebuilding some stocks of munitions and repair parts alongside worrisome trends in force readiness, declining strength in key areas like trained pilots, and continued uncertainty across the defense budget.
- Congress and the Administration took positive steps to stabilize funding for FY 2018 and FY 2019 through the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2018 and managed, through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, to sustain such support for funding above the caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). While this allays the most serious concerns about a possible return to the damaging levels of the BCA, more will be needed in the years to come to ensure that the U.S. military is properly sized, equipped, trained, and ready to meet the missions that the services are called upon to fulfill.
- As currently postured, the U.S. military is only marginally able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests.
Download the report here.
The report’s official roll-out at Heritage, which will be headlined by U.S. Senator Jodi Ernst (R-Iowa), will be live streamed here at 0930 Eastern.