Why US Army so eager for reform?

China Military Online
Huang Panyue
2019-12-10 16:40:19

The above photo shows US Army soldiers standing in rows, ready for training.

Foreign media reported that the US Army recently began a round of reforms considering the need for “major-country strategic competition” and its own “inadequate military strength”, aiming to build a “modernized army capable of fighting battles in various domains”.

The reform is intended to cope with three “risks”.

The US Army’s reform is mainly to cope with three “risks” according to foreign media.

First, the US Army is in inadequate combat readiness. The Pentagon recently released a report saying that only three of the Army’s 58 combat brigades can be deployed to battle anytime, which is a disturbing situation.

The US media described the Army’s terrible tradition of “never being fully prepared for future warfare”. One of the important purposes of the reform is to shore up the weak links in its war-preparedness and temper an army force ready to fight any minute.

Second, the US Army’s weapons R&D lags behind. According to US media, while the US Army was performing “security missions” in Iraq and Afghanistan, its traditional rivals were developing emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, hypersonic weapons and nano technology to restrict American troops’ maneuverability, offset their assault approaches and even destroy their commanding and control system.

Senior US Army officers also pointed out that soldiers and weapons are “vying” for the army budget. As a result, the R&D of modern weapons is relatively backward in recent years, which has restrained the development of combat force.

Third, threats from major countries are mounting. The US military emphasized that the Army has been focused on executing “marginal missions” like combating riot and chaos, but hasn’t played an effective role in coping with major-country strategic competition.

“The American Army that was regarded as the strongest ground force after the end of the Cold War is now considered hardly able to tackle the challenges imposed by Russia and other countries,” reported US media.

The reform may be a “double-edged sword”

In General, the reform of US Army isn’t so well-grounded. In terms of combat readiness, the American Heritage Foundation rated it as “very strong” in its recent report 2020 Index of U.S. Military Strength.

As to weapons R&D, the six modern weaponry programs currently promoted by US Army are generally believed to represent the latest advancement of weapon development.

Regarding major-country threats, the US Army has frequently carried out joint military exercises at Russia’s doorstep this year to verify its “dynamic deployment” strategy, posing severe threats to Russia’s national security.

Going forward, the US Army’s reform is likely to be a “doubled-edged sword” that will exert inestimable impacts on its own development and on the global strategic balance.

On one hand, the reform may yield a substantial upgrade of US Army’s combat force. As the incumbent US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley both served in the army, they will strongly support its reform and transformation and turn it from a “marginal” to a “core” service.

On the other hand, the reform may trigger strategic turbulence worldwide. It is so obviously targeted at Russia that it will easily arouse the target’s strong dissatisfaction and counter-moves. The two countries may enter into intense strategic game or arms race in the future.

Besides, an important part of America’s Army reform is deploying advanced weapons and equipment on the frontline and verifying its combat capability, which will cause regional turmoil. We should be highly alert to the negative impacts of the reform and pay close attention to the US Army’s next move.


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