• By The Financial District

Ex-State Dep't Exec Seeks Strong Defense Posture vs China, Russia

Kori Schake, a former deputy director for policy planning at the US State Department, has called for strengthening American military forces to contend with the double threat posed by Russia and China, which are obsessed to become the new global policemen.


Photo Insert: Former deputy director for policy planning at the US State Department Kori Schake said the Defense Department needs to fund the construction and maintenance of military facilities and equipment.



Writing for the March-April 2022 issue of Foreign Affairs, Schake said the Defense Department needs to fund the construction and maintenance of military facilities and equipment. The current figure for the maintenance and construction backlog is around $140 billion.


Navy dry docks, for instance, are more than 100 years old and in short supply (only one can hold a Ford-class aircraft carrier.) Thus, US shipyards are limited in how well they can service the fleet.



“US forces are already too small for the existing strategy; Washington only limits them further by underfunding such logistical operations,” she argued.


Majority of conventional and nuclear weapons systems are approaching the end of their service lives, even with extension programs that stretched their use well beyond their original retirement date. In 2016, defense analyst Todd Harrison estimated the total cost of developing new systems to replace the old ones at $130 billion across five years.


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That number has only ballooned since then. The changes needed to bring the Defense Department’s budget back in line with its strategy involve a hefty price tag: around an additional $384 billion per year, a figure about 50 percent greater than the current Pentagon budget.


Spending and program estimates also typically swell to two or three times the initial estimates.


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“Defense is expensive. It’s inefficient. But it is an essential insurance policy designed to guarantee that the US can protect itself, its allies, and its interests. Americans have allowed their military to atrophy, and they urgently need to restore both its reach and its punch. US defense spending in 1953 was 11.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP); this year, it is 3.7 percent. Washington needs to make up the gap before its adversaries gain too much ground. This should be a wake-up call. The US must drop the excuses that have led it to so perilously underfund its defense,” Schake concluded.



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