A report by American nonprofit global policy think tank RAND has revealed that significant gaps exist in the ability of the US and its allies to deter or defeat aggression, which may threaten national interests.
The research found that more funding will be required to close the gap between the 2018 US Department of Defense (DoD) budget and the forces needed to implement the Trump administration’s stated security and defence strategy and goals for military modernisation.
The researchers urged to prioritise investments by the significance of the goal to the US and its interests, the size and urgency of the gap between the capabilities needed to achieve defence objectives and the forces ready and postured to provide the capabilities, as well as the availability of realistic opportunities for the US to close the gaps.
RAND senior fellow and lead author on the report Timothy Bonds said: “Modernising its nuclear deterrent over the next several decades is likely to consume most of the recent increases in the US defence budget.
“The question, then, is how the United States should utilise the resources remaining to ensure that aggression that imperils US interests in critical regions would fail while helping allies build the capacity to do more for their own and the collective defence.”
RAND made several recommendations urging the DoD to enhance the mobilisation infrastructure to accelerate the activation of National Guard and reserve forces, as well as the training capabilities required to make all forces in the deployment pipeline ready.
The US President should mobilise all of the reserve components in case of a major war such as a Russian attack on the Baltics, a resumption of full-scale combat on the Korean Peninsula, or a US decision to come to Taiwan’s defence against China, the report said.
RAND said in order to deter Russia and defend the Baltics, the US should pre-position the equipment and munitions for armoured and Stryker or infantry brigade combat teams and supporting ground and airforces in Europe.
The DoD has also been urged to increase the readiness of US forces to the stated service goals or beyond for all contingencies.