Top officials warn U.S. military losing competitive edge


Unless mandatory budget cuts are reversed, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates warns that the U.S. military may be unable to keep its edge on technology advances over other countries or continue to aid in all the multiple crises around the world.

Things will only get worse, Gates said about the budget cuts.  He stated they were eroding confidence in U.S. leadership around the world and that it was time to end the “incredibly stupid” reductions.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, told Reuters that the Navy would have to cut forces and reduce its ability to position ships around the world if lawmakers did not ease or reverse the cuts due to resume in fiscal 2016.

While at a conference at the Reagan Presidential Library, he said, “Electronic warfare, electronic attack, anti-submarine warfare, all of these higher-end areas, will fall further behind because we’re just not investing in them.”

WITN reported that U.S. officials are urging Congress to end the “sequestration”, stating increased threats from Russia’s aggression in the Crimea region and ISIS militancy in Iraq and Syria are straining already reduced budgets and resources.

Over the weekend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that in an effort to ensure continued U.S. military dominance, he will be pushing for new weapons. The advanced arms would include robotics, autonomous systems, miniaturization and additive manufacturing.

Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Company and Huntington Ingalls Industries are main developers and suppliers of military weaponry.  Executives at the firms said budget uncertainties have limited their ability to make needed investments in research and development.  They have cut overhead to drive down weapon costs.

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James Winnefield stated that procurement of new weapons has slowed, making it hard to restore military’s readiness for new missions.

“We aren’t modernizing as fast as we should in a highly competitive, technical landscape,” he said.  “Almost every element of our forces structure is shrinking while potential threats expand.”

According to Reuters, Republican Senator John McCain said ending military budget cuts would be his highest priority when he takes over as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in January.

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