The National Defense Transportation Association held its annual meeting in Saint Louis during the first week in November, and the news was not good. Strategic lines of communication to overseas military theaters are increasingly vulnerable to interdiction. Cyber attacks against commercial carriers are occurring on a daily basis. The U.S.-flag oceangoing cargo fleet is shrinking and aging. Railroads and truckers are stressed by declining demand, low rates and rising insurance premiums. What all this points to is that surging the joint force in response to aggression in Eastern Europe, the Middle East or the Western Pacific is becoming harder to accomplish. U.S. Transportation Command, which is headquartered at Scott Air Force Base near Saint Louis, is further pressured by the inability of Washington to approve budgets on time, making the efficient use of scarce transport resources difficult. Congress needs to pay more attention to military transport issues, which could be the Achilles heel in U.S. war plans. I have written a commentary for The National Interest here.
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