A flag bearer holds the American flag as American forces take part in the opening ceremony of Flintlock, anti-terrorism training in Thies, Senegal, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Flintlock is annual military exercises that focuses on anti-terrorism and security training by American and European security forces to country’s taking part. (AP Photo/Jane Hahn)
U.S. military readiness has deteriorated over the past year, according to a new study by a conservative think-tank that said the four service branches are unable to “meet their day-to-day requirements” and lack the “operational depth required to respond to a major crisis.”
The study by the American Enterprise Institute in Washington homed in on comments made during a series of March congressional hearings by top military commanders, who “painted a somber picture of military readiness.”
“One-third of the Army is ready to go to war against a powerful conventional foe, short of the target of having two-thirds of the force ready, as defined by Army training and operational plans,” the study said.
If the nation were to face a major crisis, the Army would likely have to deploy all uncommitted forces, including active duty, reserve and National Guard soldiers to respond, the study said, adding that the Army “would not be able to respond to two simultaneous conflicts.”
It also says the Marine Corps and Navy are currently worn thin by high rates of deployment and deteriorating equipment and could not keep up with the pace of global deployments over the past year.
With regard to the Air Force, the study said the service has sacrificed its ability to conduct a large-scale campaign with anywhere near the size and speed desired by Pentagon commanders and continues to train pilots for only mission-specific needs.