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The report highlights USAF's need for more aircraft and weapons systems in almost all of its mission sets, including long-range fighters and bombers to penetrate defenses, more tankers to refuel them, more lift capacity, and “above all” more intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms. Air Force photo by SrA. Philip Bryant.

America’s military might has eroded to a “dangerous degree” at a time when the national security is at great risk, and Congress and the Pentagon need to build up both the Air Force and the broader military to address these current and future threats, a bipartisan commission warned lawmakers this week.

The National Defense Strategy Commission, a collection of bipartisan former lawmakers and military officials stood up to review the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy, released its final report, sounding an alarm that sequestration and the increased threats from China and Russia has “created a crisis of national security for the United States.

The US military is not prepared for possible conflict with a great power, which would result in unacceptably high losses. Going forward, the Pentagon and Congress need to focus investments on operational challenges such as protecting bases, rapidly reinforcing forward forces, conducting effective information operations, defeating anti-access threats, and deterring the use of nuclear or other strategic weapons, the commission writes.

The report highlights the Air Force’s need for more aircraft and weapons systems in almost all of its mission sets, including long-range fighters and bombers to penetrate defenses, more tankers to refuel them, more lift capacity, and “above all” more intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms.

The report notes that the Air Force ran “dangerously low” on weapons such as Hellfire missiles in its air war against ISIS, saying that in a future great power fight, the service will need these weapons in “enormous quantities,” requiring an increase in the defense industrial base.

“The United States needs a larger force than it has today if it is to meet the objectives of the strategy,” the commission writes. “The Air Force, Navy, and Army will all need capacity enhancements in addition to—not in place of—the capability and posture changes this commission recommends.”