Nick Gutteridge — Daily Express Sept 20, 2016
Army planners believe Vladimir Putin could look to take advantage of the election of a new US president to launch an attack on eastern European countries.
And a top military expert has warned that the US military is “woefully unprepared” for a fight against Russian troops, blasting: “America’s Army is poised for defeat in a European war.”
Loren Thompson, Chief Operating Officer of the Lexington Institute defence think tank, said the US Army was “gravely deficient” in a number of key areas and that Putin’s military could win any war on the continent “very quickly”.
His comments come after the country’s most senior generals warned its fighting forces are now so depleted any war with Russia would result in massive casualties.
The chiefs of the army, navy, air force and marines told the armed services committee told US senators that conflict with Moscow would be a “high military risk” where victory could not be guaranteed.
Senator John McCain, a former presidential hopeful and Vietnam veteran, told the hearing the situation is so desperate that US forces are now “cannibalising themselves” just to keep up with their current duties.
He said: “The world has only grown more dangerous over the past five years but the resources available to our military have continued to decline.
“Our fighting forces are becoming effectively hollow against great power competitors.”
Their remarks echoed those of Mr Thompson, who has written a paper detailing how a lightning attack by Russia would carve open defenceless eastern Europe and lead to the reinstallation of the Iron Curtain.
He said that whilst US Army planners believe they may have to fight a “near-peer” adversary – probably Russia – within five years, an invasion could come as early as next year.
And the military expert argued the US Army is currently “postured to lose” any such conflict following years of drastic cuts which have left it with low troop numbers and ageing equipment.
He wrote: “There’s plenty of evidence that Russia’s military is on the move in the Baltic region, near Ukraine, and elsewhere.
“Because the biggest concentrations of Russian military power are close to the border and thus can move with minimal warning, Moscow might achieve its objectives before US forces arrive.
“The Army is gravely deficient in air defenses, electronic warfare, precision firepower and adequately protected vehicles. It can’t match what Russia has.
“The bottom line is that Russia could win a war fast in Eastern Europe if it faced an opponent no better postured than the US Army is today.”
Mr Thompson pointed out that Moscow has embarked on a huge modernising spending spree for its military, launching a 700 billion dollar programme to update its arms and equipment whilst the US Army has largely stood still.
US Marines chief General Robert Neller said: “Our potential adversaries have recapitalised and from ground up built a force that has very significant capability and grows every day.”
Meanwhile, the number of American troops stationed in Europe has also been steadily cut by both Barack Obama and his predecessor George Bush, and now consists of just two brigades.
And there is the possibility the US presence could be cut even further if Donald Trump becomes the country’s next president, with the Republican having expressed half-hearted support at best for NATO.
The bombshell admissions came after two senior UK generals warned the British Army has been so savagely cut that it could not defend the country against an invasion by Russian forces.
General Sir Richard Barrons, the recently retired commander of Joint Forces Command, told defence secretary Michael Fallon the Government was “lucky” Mr Putin did not appear interested in a conflict with Britain which he would comfortably win.
He blasted: “Neither the UK homeland nor a deployed force – let alone both concurrently – could be protected from a concerted Russian air effort.”
His dire warning was backed up by Sir Mike Jackson, the former Chief of the General Staff, who said he was “absolutely in agreement” with the assessment.