The next war in Europe might be coming soon, and it could be largely an Army show. Geography would make it difficult for the sea services to get to Eastern Europe where the conflict is likely to unfold, and the Air Force would be hobbled by a very dense Russian air defense network in the area. If the U.S. Army has to halt a Russian advance by itself, it will be in a world of hurt. Its armor lacks adequate protection and firepower, its communications links are vulnerable, its artillery and missiles are outclassed by Russia’s, and its tactical air defenses are almost non-existent. It isn’t enough for Washington to simply increase the U.S. ground-force presence in Europe if it wants to deter Russian aggression — it needs to fix the equipment shortfalls, and fast. The most urgent upgrades could all be accomplished if the Army were given one more day of federal funding each year, or $11 billion. That would increase the money available for Army modernization by 50%. However, the increase needs to be directed at things that can be fielded quickly, because Army leaders expect war within five years. I have written a commentary for The National Interest here.
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