For decades, the ability for the U.S. military to simultaneously conduct two-and-a-half major regional conflicts was the standard, until the 1990s cuts.
The following was taken from the Substack account of Ret. Col. John Mills – It was first published at the Epoch Times in full. The below is only segments of the report.
An overarching tenet for decades in the American national security planning environment was the ability for the U.S. military to simultaneously conduct two-and-a-half major regional conflicts (MRCs).
Translated, this meant that the United States had the military size to generate and project military force for a major conflict in the European area, a major conflict in the Asian area, and a smaller “brushfire” conflict somewhere else. Going back 30 years, the 1993 “Bottom Up Review” was the seminal Department of Defense planning document that defined the beginning of the pivot away from this classic Cold War viewpoint to a new, post-Soviet era one.
…Hamas and the Houthis are proxies for Iran; Iran is a proxy for China. Russia, mired in the death and destruction it created, is a proxy for China. In December 2021, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin met virtually, weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, and agreed to a “no limits” partnership to topple American leadership of the world system.
Tensions in the Pacific have increased as China has greatly elevated its military exercises—demonstrations toward Taiwan and the Philippines. The Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act and related appropriations greatly increased American military spending while making numerous declarative statements of support for Taiwan, which has significantly displeased China…
…The common outcome of the national security budget debate is what’s called “salami slicing,” where all military services and requirements take equal cuts or equal plus-ups. This is often the normalcy of the defense debate within and between the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government.
With the surging two-and-a-half-plus MRC world, intuitive priorities come to the forefront. The American border should be the first priority, and, beyond that, capabilities and force structure that can project deterrence and, if necessary, war-winning capabilities should receive the highest priorities for a unified joint operational concept. These are more resident in air, naval, space, cyber, and special operations domains, with a special emphasis on artificial intelligence-enabled autonomous systems….
…The Chinese Communist Party is achieving some success in its worldwide campaign of unrestricted warfare to include civil-military fusion, Belt and Road influence operations, and pernicious and deadly adjuncts such as fentanyl production in northern Mexico that is introduced into American society on a broad scale in an “Opium War” initiative to destabilize American society. This implies that the American solution must be whole-of-government and inclusive of key strategic partners.
China is rapidly exploiting its influence operations in the Americas, and the recent announcement to develop alternatives to the Panama Canal through Colombia should be setting off alarm bells in the world of American statecraft.
The historic challenges of military recruiting and retention need to be addressed in an open and honest dialogue that addresses all core causal factors that can no longer be dismissed. Even the U.S. Coast Guard is achieving a striking inability to deploy ships: It has the budget and equipment, but it doesn’t have the personnel—an extremely perplexing inverse of the world they have lived in for years.
The two-and-a-half MRC world is only growing, and the best response is to build the right capabilities to deter the developing storm as fast as possible.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Originally published in Epoch Times
Ret Col Mills joined the Joe Hoft Show and discussed the situation around the world impacting the US.