“Since 2012, the Army has shrunk from 45 combat brigades to only 31. In February, Gen. Daniel B. Allyn informed the House Armed Services Committee that only a third of those brigades are considered combat ready and only three, count ‘em, three, would be able to deploy immediately to a combat zone. […]
“Things aren’t much better for our air and sea forces. The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Military Strength assesses the Air Force as being 24 percent short of the 1,200 fighter jets it needs. As for keeping the aging aircraft it does have flying, it lacks 1,000 pilots and over 3,000 flight maintenance crew members. Only four of its 36 combat-coded squadrons are ready to execute all wartime missions.
“The Navy has shriveled to 276 combat ships—the smallest U.S. battle fleet since before World War I. And the readiness of the force continues to decline. In February, Adm. William Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, testified before the House Armed Services Committee that ‘the Navy’s overall readiness has reached its lowest level in many years.’
“His testimony was subsequently affirmed by a series of accidents that revealed a deplorable decline in basic seamanship. First, the USS Lake Champlain collided with a fishing vessel. Then the USS John S. McCain and the USS Fitzgerald hit cargo ships, costing 17 American sailors their lives.
“All of these ships were part of the Navy’s Forward Deployed Naval Forces, considered our most proficient, well-trained, and experienced force because they’re operating all the time. But a report issued last month by the Government Accountability Office found that little to no dedicated training periods were built into the operational schedules. As a result, 37 percent of the warfare certifications for cruiser and destroyer crews based in Japan—including certifications for seamanship—had expired.” [Fox News]