National Security

A Startlingly Small Number Of US Forces Could Fight An Enemy Tonight, Says Army General

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Only three of 58 Army Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) would be available to respond to an enemy attack if one hypothetically happened tonight, according to the vice chief of staff of the Army.

“Of the BCTs that are ready, only three could be called upon to fight tonight in the event of a crisis,” Gen. Daniel Allyn told the House Committee on Armed Services during a hearing Wednesday.

A BCT usually numbers anywhere between 4,400 to 4,700 soldiers, meaning only approximately 13,500 troops would be ready to fight an enemy in the event of an emergency.

To make matters worse, Allyn added that “only about two-thirds of the Army’s initial critical formations — the formations we would need at the outset of a major conflict — are at acceptable levels of readiness to conduct sustained ground combat in a full spectrum environment against a highly lethal hybrid threat or near-peer adversary.”

A “lethal hybrid threat” or “near-peer adversary” includes countries like Russia and China.

Allyn warned that the current state of Army readiness means much of the force would be unable to properly respond to an emergency threat.

“Hope is not a method,” the general warned.

He added that the end result of such an emergency situation would include “excessive casualties, especially to civilians.”

Allyn was joined by the vice chiefs of the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, all of whom warned that their respective services suffered from a lack of readiness.

The solution to the problem, according to Allyn, is the immediate repeal of the Budget Control Act of 2011, an Obama-era law that put artificial caps on defense spending. A potential repeal of the law has bipartisan support across the committee. However, Congress has thus far been unable to remove it, forcing them to pass continuing resolutions to keep the military funded.

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