A new report to Congress delivers a "flashing red" warning of a national security crisis. It's no migrant caravan, but the general degradation of American military might. "The US military could suffer unacceptably high casualties and loss of major capital assets in its next conflict. It might struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against China or Russia," writes the National Defense Strategy Commission, a bipartisan panel asked by Congress to evaluate the Trump administration's defense strategy for 2018, which aimed to set up the US military to compete with Beijing and Moscow. Classified documents and Pentagon briefings revealed inadequate resources and innovation to meet that goal—at times based on "questionable assumptions and weak analysis"—even as China spent a quarter of America's $716 billion budget, and Russia about a tenth, reports the Washington Post.
The US "is particularly at risk of being overwhelmed should its military be forced to fight on two or more fronts simultaneously," according to the report released Wednesday. But as "US military superiority is no longer assured," the US could also find itself at a disadvantage if China were to attack Taiwan, or if North Korea were to attack South Korea, per the report. The government says "we're going to be able to [assist in] these things, when in fact we aren't able to do them because we're not paying for them," co-chair Eric Edelman tells Defense News. The report, coming in the wake of a $33 billion cut to the 2018 Pentagon budget and as Democrats seek to rollback Pentagon programs, recommends Congress lift budget caps on defense spending as "available resources are clearly insufficient to fulfill the strategy's ambitious goals." (Troops are currently at the southern border.)