America is no longer guaranteed military victory. These weapons could change that.

A photograph taken from a high-speed video camera during a record-setting firing of an electromagnetic rail gun at Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va., in 2008. (John F. Williams/U.S. Navy)

A photograph taken from a high-speed video camera during a record-setting firing of an electromagnetic rail gun at Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va., in 2008. (John F. Williams/U.S. Navy)

The fight against the Islamic State may get the headlines. But it’s the military threats from Russia and China that most worry top Pentagon officials — and are driving a new arms race to deter these great-power rivals.

This question of how to deal with Russian and Chinese military advances has gotten almost no attention in the 2016 presidential campaign. But it deserves a careful look. The programs begun in the waning days of the Obama administration could potentially change the face of warfare, in the United States’ favor, but they would require political support and new spending by the next president.

A drive to build exotic versions of conventional weapons may sound crazy in a world that already has too much military conflict. But advocates argue that strengthening U.S. conventional forces might be the only way to avoid escalation to nuclear weapons if war with Moscow or Beijing began.

Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work argued for the new deterrence strategy in a presentation this month to the bipartisan Aspen Strategy Group, amplifying comments he made to me in an interview in February. The approach, awkwardly named the “third offset strategy,” would leverage the United States’ technological superiority by creating weapons that could complicate attack planning by an adversary.

The premise is that as Russia and China modernize their militaries, the United States must exploit its lead in high-tech warfare. In the world envisioned by Pentagon planners, the United States could field an array of drones in the sky, unmanned submarines beneath the seas and advanced systems on the ground that could overwhelm an adversary’s battle-management networks. Like the two previous “offsets,” battlefield nuclear weapons in the 1950s and precise conventional weapons in the 1970s, this one would seek to restore lost U.S. military dominance.

The concerns prompting the new strategy were previewed by Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at his Senate confirmation hearing in July 2015: “If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I would have to point to Russia. And if you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming.”

China worries some Pentagon officials even more than Russia. A recent study by the Rand Corp., titled “War With China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable,” warned: “Improvements in Chinese military capabilities mean that a war would not necessarily go the way U.S. war planners plan it. Whereas a clear U.S. victory once seemed probable, it is increasingly likely that a conflict could involve inconclusive fighting with steep losses on both sides.”

Top Pentagon officials say that because of Russian and Chinese advances, the U.S. military’s “overmatch” has diminished. Planners can no longer guarantee a president that the United States could prevail in the early days of a conventional conflict; they fear that the United States might lose “escalation dominance” — meaning, basically, the ability to call the shots — in a future confrontation.

Work urged European allies in a speech in Brussels in April: “It’s time for another doctrinal and conceptual reawakening.” He argued that to cope with “an incredibly lethal modern battlefield,” the U.S. must maintain “a healthy margin of technological superiority, because an erosion . . . might ultimately undermine our conventional deterrence, contribute to crisis instability, and greatly raise the potential cost of any future U.S. military operation.”

A glimpse of what could lie ahead, if the next president continues the projects begun by the Obama Pentagon, came in a provocative 2014 study, “Toward a New Offset Strategy,” by Robert Martinage of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

Martinage recommended a dizzying new arsenal that would include a fleet of unmanned subs; an array of undersea sensors; “seabed payload pods” that could hide drones underwater until they were needed in a conflict; electromagnetic rail guns and directed-energy weapons; high-energy lasers that could blind enemy sensors; and a range of other new technologies.

“These initiatives would contribute to an effective offset strategy by affordably restoring U.S. power projection capability and capacity, bolstering conventional deterrence . . . and imposing costs upon prospective adversaries,” Martinage wrote.

Pentagon officials say they decided over the past year to reveal some formerly top-secret weapons programs because the disclosure would complicate Russian and Chinese military planning. But they say they have concealed other programs to preserve warfighting effectiveness in any future conflict.

U.S. officials contend that this push to offset Russian and Chinese gains will have a stabilizing effect in great-power relations, rather than a destabilizing one. But in an unsettled world, this issue deserves broader debate during the presidential campaign.

Source: Washington Post “America is no longer guaranteed military victory. These weapons could change that”

Note: This is Washington Post’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


5 Comments on “America is no longer guaranteed military victory. These weapons could change that.”

  1. Foxhound says:

    Russian media said: J-20 to be equipped with WS-15 engine

    If it is true -Chan could confirm-, China is not only closing the gap with US, but is already ahead of US. It means that China is mastering the development and the mass production of ultra-moden Jet engines. It means that the WS-13 too is ready for the next production of the J-31. Once the J-31 will be bought to the world, it will upset the balance, and will definitely end the western superiority in the Middle East, south, central America, and in Africa.
    In this context, the article of Washington Post is not a surprise, because US are trying to calm as long as it is possible their allies that are more and more worrying in the world.
    I don’t see for example Australia staying quiet as Indonesia will buy next several squadrons of J-31, neither Israel, nor US.


  2. Foxhound says:

    The programs …could potentially change the face of warfare, in the United States’ favor,…
    Chiefly in Goldman Sachs, -and all great Walll Street Banks- favor, and not in favor of american People. Else I have nothing to add of the interesting comments wrote above.

    Furthermore I stay away of US medias, and western press overall. Because western press does not use to lie, but by essence it is the big “Lie”. See how they covered middle east, african conflicts, how they covered ukrainian tragedy. There is enough to realize that there does not exist any objective views. The Washington Post belongs to the US establishement, and exist only in order to defend the interrest of US oligarchy. They are not here to do information, but mostly propaganda. Once said.

    During the period of 1995-2010 nearly 10 trillons of dollars were invested in US war machine, at this period the best scientists, engineers -including chinese- in the world rushed in US. Meanwhile the military budgets of China and Russia are at a level of third world’s country. It is worth to consider this important setting.
    Hence it is possible that US do have a new and ultra secret -that may not revealed until now- weapon-s ?- able to vitrify China, and Russia. It is possible, I do not have more clues. I do not know better than you.

    However presently China and Russia in conventional weapons are not only narrowing the gap between them and US, but Russia already overpassed US, and China will overpass US in a coming years, if not imminent. Saying this, it is normal that the US establishment is in panic mode and do communications in order convince US allies as european and asian allies to still believe in US supremacy. Nevertheless, no one is fool.


  3. Steve says:

    Truth and Nothing but the Truth — The US are the initiators and state sponsors of Terrorism, Genocide, falsehoods, disinformation, propaganda, Creator of Chaos and Coups (including democratically elected ones that opposes US interference, e.g Libya).

    The common US excuses used for invasion to create a genocidal bloodbath are ‘terrorism, communism, WMD (eg. Iraq), business interest (e.g. SCS), human rights (eg Tibet), freedom, political support to oust a dictator & democracy (e.g. Iraq)., etc, etc.

    The King of Evil and Chief Apostle of the Demon Lord is the one and only USA – the Director, Producer, Actor and supporting crew – all in one, bloody incredible.!

    Only months ago, say 12 months, the US claims that China and Russia are at least 2 decades (20 years) behind the US in it’s military doctrine of research and development. And all of a sudden, China and Russia have significantly narrowed the gap and the US pedalling on the back foot. Looks like the scaremongering by the rattlers, sneaks and snakes are now getting lost in the Colorado desert – home of the Sidewinder (rattlersnake).

    With Turkey probably seeking a military alliance with Russia and Iran coming in from the cold to allow Russian warplanes using it’s Iranian platform to bomb ISIS in Syria, the landscape of the Middle East is turning into a Nightmare for the US. Soon the US may have to pivot back to the Middle East and probably with the support of the Japanese military.

    Then, China may have the excuse of supporting a military alliance with Russia, Iran, Syria and Turkey in the Middle East, shooting the Sushi & vice versa instead of ECS.. If this happens, what would US do.? Will NATO support the evil alliance with the US.? The SCS may finally have a peaceful rise.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Simon says:

    America lost a conventional war with China in Korea and Vietnam when its military was substantially more powerful. Now it is a lot closer what chance does America have today?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. alking1957 says:

    See this is why the USA has gone power mad. Other countries only want to be stong so that they wont get pushed around, while the USA is always thinking about how not to “lose dominance” so that they can continue to push other countries around. They are truly the number 1 evil, the Great Satan!

    Liked by 1 person