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Report: The U.S. Is Not Ready for a War with Russia or China

Thus, the challenge is how to be able to thwart low-end conflicts while still being prepared for all-out war. As I noted in my 2014 articles, these two very different scenarios are often in tension when it comes to force planning and weapons procurement. The CSBA report should be commended for identifying the challenge of needing to be able to simultaneously deal with both of these kinds of threats. It also takes some preliminary steps in trying to find solutions. For instance, it notes that having a larger forward deployed presence in Europe and Asia, as America did during the Cold War, would alleviate the need to try and gain access once a high-end conflict began. At the same time, these “postures to defend forward would increase U.S. options to escalate horizontally relative to current postures that require significant reinforcements from the U.S. homeland, which could be escalatory in a vertical sense.”

Still, for the most part the report’s concrete recommendations focus on actions for high-level warfare, while calling for more concepts to deal with the lesser aggressions. This is a good start, and a debate that will have huge implications for the United States moving forward.

Zachary Keck (@ZacharyKeck) is a former managing editor of the National Interest.

Image: U.S. Air Force Col. Mike Manning, the commander of the 169th Fighter Wing, and Col. David Meyer, the commander of the 169th Operations Group, both with the South Carolina Air National Guard, receive fuel from a KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 134th Air Refueling Wing, Tennessee Air National Guard while flying an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft over Eastover, S.C., Nov. 12, 2013. ​/ Flickr / U.S. Department of Defense

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