SOBER THINKING ABOUT DEFENSE – AT 4:01 A.M. ET: A number of defense experts are increasingly concerned about our status in Asia, and are recommending changes in the way we defend our interests there. From the Washington Times:
A bipartisan, congressionally mandated defense panel on Thursday challenged the Pentagon to broaden its focus beyond counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq and expand the Navy to deal with threats from rising powers in Asia.
The report by the independent panel, headed by former White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and former Defense Secretary William Perry, calls for the U.S. military to shift its long-term focus to five areas, ranging from "radical Islamist extremism and the threat of terrorism" to confronting "an accelerating global competition for resources."
The panel report also said U.S. maritime power should be increased to deal with "the rise of new global great powers in Asia," an indirect reference to China's growing military and political power. It said the U.S. military must prepare for the "continued struggle for power in the Persian Gulf and the greater Middle East" and "persistent problems from failed and failing states."
In reviewing the Pentagons Quadrennial Defense Review strategy, the panel, in recommendations made public on Capitol Hill, also said that the United States should merge the budgeting process for the military, intelligence and foreign-assistance spending.
To beef up U.S. maritime power in Asia, the report calls for expanding the Navy from its current fleet of 282 ships to 346 ships.
COMMENT: Too many Americans believe that once we "withdraw" from Iraq and Afghanistan, we can pick up our marbles and go home. In fact, threats against the United States are escalating, and some are coming from China.
I think it will be very hard to get the leftist Democratic base to agree to increase the size of the Navy. That may have to be done by a coalition of Republicans and moderate Democrats...and that assumes Obama will sign the bill.
July 30, 2010