Despite the tag of “global superpower” the United States’ forces get crushed by rival Russia and China forces in many of the simulated World War III games, according to a U.S defense analyst.
Senior Defense Analyst David Ochmanek at RAND said in a panel discussion: “In our games, where we fight China or Russia … blue gets its a** handed to it, not to put too fine a point on it.”
Blue forces represent the U.S in the war simulations, and Red forces symbolize Russia and China.
He was speaking at a panel discussion in Washington D.C’s Center for a New American Security (CNAS) that debated the looming scenarios and “A New American Way of War.”
RAND runs simulated conflict scenarios for the Pentagon with focus on warfare in the “backyards” of Russia and China.
According to the defense expert, in the war games, the U.S. forces face pulverizing attacks by the Reds using conventional and cyber weapons inflicting heavy losses.
As a result, the U.S forces fail to stop Russia or China from achieving its objectives including overpowering the U.S allies.
Case in point is Baltics or Taiwan where the defeat of U.S forces can be devastating to the U.S and lead to the breaking up of America’s alliances, and the world order that established the U.S leadership in world affairs after the second world war.
The vulnerability of US defense assets
For the U.S, that is spending $700 billion a year on defense expenditure a setback is unaffordable. But the reality is that despite owning nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and supersonic stealth fighters, a vulnerable underbelly exists.
Robert Work, a former deputy secretary of the defense noted that the F-35 may rule the sky, “but it gets killed on the ground in large numbers.”
He was pointing to airbases and aircraft carriers turning into sitting ducks for long-range precision-guided missiles.
Many smart weapons that were once American monopoly have now become part of Russian and Chinese arsenals, he noted.
They also include long-range sensors, command systems and communications networks.
Both Work and Ochmanek said the worst part is that the U.S will get a hard knock on the head if its arsenal is not updated in tune with the current realities.
The infrastructure of communications satellites, wireless networks, and command-and-control systems can be hacked.
Chinese calls it “system destruction warfare” and they “attack the American battle network at all levels, and practice it all the time,” he warned.
How to mitigate U.S weakness?
The experts said sustained investment at the rate of $8 billion a year between 2020 and 2030 for the Air Force and similar sums to the Army and Navy can improve things.
Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget proposes $750 billion for a defense that is 5 percent more than fiscal 2019. The cumulative $24 billion will be just 3.3 percent of the annual defense budget.
Acquire more long-range missiles
They urged the U.S to acquire more long-range offensive missiles such as MLRS missiles of Army artillery brigades, and Air Force’s JAGM-ER smart bomb, and Navy’s LRASM ship-killer.
That must be supplemented with a swath of defensive missiles to shoot down offensive missiles, aircraft, and drones of enemies.
A bigger fix is needed by scaling up of command, control, and communications systems. Preparedness must cover upgrading jam-proof datalinks to electronic warfare gear on combat aircraft and warships.
The defense experts called for an end to the trend of services cutting corners on electronics. Ochmanek said allowing a multi-billion dollar ship to die without spending a million-dollar extra for a decoy will be a bad investment.