The US is at “real and increasing risk” of losing its military technological dominance that it had taken for granted in the aftermath of the end of Cold War, senator John McCain said, ruing that America’s monopoly is now being challenged by countries like Russia and China.
“For years after the Cold War, the US enjoyed a near monopoly on advanced military technologies. That is changing rapidly,” McCain, chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, told a Washington audience.
“From China and Russia, to Iran and North Korea, we see militaries that are developing, fielding, and employing long- range precision guided weapons, advanced fighter aircraft, anti-access and area-denial systems, growing space and cyber capabilities, and other advanced weapons,” he said speaking at the Brookings Institute, a top American think-tank.
“The result is that we are at real and increasing risk of losing the military technological dominance that we have taken for granted for thirty years,” he said.
McCain said the US is now struggling to innovate against an acquisition system that too often impedes their efforts. The F-35 jets, he said, has been in development for 15 years.
“I get a new smart phone every 18 months. We should be able to upgrade our weapons on a similarly rapid turn,” he said.
Meanwhile, US defense secretary Ashton Carter expressed his deep concerns regarding proposals included in the National Defense Authorisation Act which passed the House a day earlier.
“This legislation includes a budget gimmick that would underfund the Department of Defense’s overseas warfighting accounts by 18 billion dollar and spend that money on programmatic items that are not our highest priorities for national defense,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said.
This approach is deeply troubling for several reason.
“First, it’s gambling with warfighting money at a time of war, proposing to cut off funding for ongoing operations in the middle of the fiscal year. Second, it’s a step in the direction of unraveling the bipartisan budget agreement agreed to just seven months ago, which has provided critical stability the department of defense needs,” he said.
This provision threatens US’ readiness to respond to the challenges of a complex world.
“Buying force structure today without the resources to sustain it tomorrow is not a path to increased readiness. It’s a path to a hollow force and exacerbates the readiness challenges we currently have,” Cook added.