Chief Nuclear Naval Commander warns of major conflicts
Admiral Charles Richard, commander of US Strategic Command, said Wednesday that the current conflict with Russia in Ukraine is “just the warming up” for potentially larger conflicts in the future.
“The big one is coming and it won’t be long before we’re tested in ways we haven’t tested in a long time.” The Independent reported Richard said during a speech at the Naval Submarine League’s 2022 Annual Symposium and Industry Update in Arlington, Virginia.
He said China’s deterrence is becoming less effective as it builds capabilities “on the ground” faster than the United States.
“If these curves continue, it won’t matter how good ours are [operating plan] or how good our commanders are, or how good our horses are – we won’t have enough of that,” he said. “And this is a very short-term problem. Maybe the [U.S. submarine force is] the only true asymmetric advantage we have left over our opponents.”
According to the report, defense budget cuts have forced the Navy to close bases and its naval shipyards, placing more responsibility on private sector companies.
Admiral Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations, said in August that “limited” industrial capacity was the biggest obstacle to increasing the industry’s capabilities, the report said.
An October report About the nation’s military readiness, the Heritage Foundation noted that the US was “weaker” in 2022 than the year before.
“The 2023 Index concludes that the current U.S. armed force faces significant risk of being unable to meet the demands of a single major regional conflict while simultaneously pursuing diverse presence and engagement activities,” it said Report. “It would most likely not be able to do more and is certainly ill-equipped to deal with two near-simultaneous ‘major regional contingencies.'”
The report took into account the current global environment, including Asia, Europe and the Middle East, in its assessment, noting that the “security threats” in Latin America and Africa do not reach the level of a direct threat to “vital” US interests.
“This does not mean that we regard Latin America and Africa as unimportant. It just means that security challenges in these regions do not currently reach the level of a direct threat to America’s vital interests, as we have defined them,” the report said.
Though the possibility is unlikely, the report mentions Russia’s large nuclear arsenal and says it gives these weapons “relevance” in the US and NATO.
“[Russia] still possesses the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, and while an attack on the US is highly unlikely, the latent potential for such an attack nevertheless gives these weapons enough strategic value vis-à-vis America’s NATO allies and interests in Europe to ensure their continued relevance “, says the report.
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