This is the grim state of our military’s readiness: An Air Force F-15C that broke in half during flight, two F-18s that have caught fire aboard ships, every single cruiser with cracks in its hull, A-10C Warthogs with fuselage cracks, the UH-1N Twin Huey helicopter fleet that is regularly grounded, and over half the navy’s deployed aircraft not ready for combat.
That is the picture of the U.S. military in disrepair—what The Heritage Foundation’s Mackenzie Eaglen calls a “readiness crisis” among all U.S. military services, including the National Guard and reserves. Readiness is “dangerously lower,” she writes, leading to “delayed, shortened, and less diverse training; plugging personnel and equipment shortfalls in deploying units with resources from others; reduced maintenance for worn-out equipment; and shortened rest time before redeploying overseas.”
How did the military get here? A decade of constant combat and ever-increasing disaster relief and homeland defense missions has contributed to the decline in readiness, and Eaglen writes in AOL Defense that the navy is under particular strain:
While the fleet has shrunk by about 15 percent since 1998, the number of ships deployed overseas has remained constant at about 100. Each ship goes to sea longer and more often, resulting in problems such as the well-publicized shortfalls in surface ship condition. With no surge capacity left in the fleet, each new casualty ripples through the schedules of dozens of ships. With the end of supplemental funding, Navy maintenance funding will be cut by almost 20 percent this year. In this context, a relatively small additional reduction in maintenance funding could render a Navy with 250 to 280 ships capable of keeping only 50 to 60 ships at sea.
(Excerpt) Read more at blog.heritage.org …