Megan Sheets – Daily Mail March 11, 2019
Nonprofit global policy think tank RAND has been performing simulated war scenarios, often sponsored by the Pentagon, to test how American forces would fare against the world’s other leading military superpowers.
Last week, RAND analysts revealed that in scenario after scenario, the US has suffered severe losses despite spending nearly $1trillion annually on the military, exceeding the spending of any other country by more than double.
‘In our games, when we fight Russia and China, “blue” gets its ass handed to it,’ researcher David Ochmanek explained at the Center for a New American Security on Thursday, Breaking Defense first reported. American forces are generally color-coded in blue in the simulations.
‘We lose a lot of people. We lose a lot of equipment. We usually fail to achieve our objective of preventing aggression by the adversary,’ Ochmanek added.
Though hypothetical, the simulated games warn that the world order America has fought to protect for more than a century could be at risk.
The simulated conflicts take place in all five domains of battle: land, sea, air, space and cyberspace.
Accord to RAND, ‘red’ aggressor forces frequently burn US military bases to the ground, sink warships and take out cyber systems.
Robert Work, a former deputy secretary of defense and experienced war-gamer, explained that America’s F-35 fighter jet is the most advanced of its kind in the sky, but is vulnerable on the tarmac.
‘In every case I know of, the F-35 rules the sky when it’s in the sky,’ Work said Thursday. ‘But it gets killed on the ground in large numbers.’
Work also warned that US military bases across Europe and the Pacific are not equipped to handle the fire they would face in a high-end conflict.
Work and Ochmanek both said China focus on cyberspace with ‘system destruction warfare’, which involves targeting US communications satellites, command-and-control systems, and wireless networks.
‘The brain and the nervous system that connects all of these pieces is suppressed, if not shattered,’ Ochmanek said.
The Chinese would ‘attack the American battle network at all levels, relentlessly,’ Work warned, adding that ‘they practice it all the time’.
‘These are the things that the war games show over and over and over, so we need a new American way of war without question,’ Work said.
Work and Ochmanek’s bleak observations mirror the findings of an assessment carried out last fall by the National Defense Strategy Commission, a bipartisan panel of experts selected by Congress to evaluate America’s National Defense Strategy.
‘If the United States had to fight Russia in a Baltic contingency or China in a war over Taiwan, Americans could face a decisive military defeat,’ the Commission said in a November report.
The report highlighted how the US has lost its military edge as rival powers, namely Russia and China, have developed a ‘suite of advanced capabilities heretofore possessed only by the United States’.
It came to the alarming conclusion that the US is ‘at greater risk than at any time in decades’.
However, RAND’s findings aren’t all doom and gloom.
Analysts say it would take just $24billion to improve outcomes – which is about three percent of the $750billion defense budget President Donald Trump will propose for 2020.
The Air Force had approached RAND to develop a plan to fix the problems behind the poor outcomes.
To his surprise, Ochmanek said: ‘We found it impossible to spend more than $8billion a year’ on necessary improvement.
The $24billion number comes from tripling that $8billion to cover the Army and the Navy.
Ochmanek said that adding $24billion to the budget ‘for the next five years would be a good expenditure’ to prepare the US for World War III, which he predicts is at least 10 to 20 years down the road.