The United States Senate Armed Services Committee chairman says Washington lost its military superiority over rivals and is now in need of significant investment as a means to catch up.
In his article for Oklahoma-based Tulsa World newspaper, the Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe says the US lost its edge both in conventional weapons and in advanced high-tech ones, including artificial intelligence, hypersonic weapons and even ‘directed energy' (aka ‘laser gun' and ‘particle beams).
The article, which begins with the dubious statement that the US "won two world wars" because of its military superiority, says that Pentagon had about as many aircraft at the end of the Cold War as Russia and China combined.
"Just look at the B-52 bomber. We've been flying this aircraft for 66 years," he writes.
He also brings forwards the example of artillery, saying that while China and Russia always outgunned the US in this field, Washington used to find comfort in the fact that American equipment "was so much better."
Today, however, Russia and China not only have more artillery units, but they are also better, Inhofe writes, citing (if not quite precisely) General Mark Milley, chief of staff of the US Army.
In 2016, Milley confirmed an assessment by General H.R. McMaster that the US is "outranged and outgunned by many potential adversaries. We don't like it, we don't want it, but yes, technically [we are] outranged, outgunned on the ground," he said before the committee.
The cure for the catastrophe? You could have guessed it already: in typical Pentagon fashion, Inhofe says the US military needs more money. A lot more money.
"The bipartisan National Defense Commission calls for a 3 percent to 5 percent increase per year in defense spending to address the shortfalls. I agree," he writes.
A report issued on November 28, 2018, by the bipartisan National Defense Strategy Commission called for Congress to approve annual increases of three to five percent in the Pentagon budget above inflation, lest already identified "resource shortfalls will be even more pronounced, making it impossible to achieve the goals outlined in the National Defense Strategy."
"I believe we are in the most threatened position of my lifetime, and we must prioritize our defense capabilities to deter the threats we face from China and Russia," Inhofe concluded. "The only way we can do that is by investing in the maintenance and modernization efforts that have been neglected for too long."
Presented on January 17, the Pentagon Missile Defense Review unsurprisingly singled out Russia and China as primary possible adversaries of Washington that are capable of launching a nuclear offensive at American soil. Iran and North Korea, which were in the spotlight in earlier versions of the report, have now been pushed to second place, according to a review by Foreign Policy.