I want to focus on one of the key themes in Andrei Martyanov’s essential book, Losing Military Supremacy–the weapon systems the United States is spending money to develop and deploy are obscenely expensive and completely vulnerable to Russia’s weapons created to defeat the American threat. Let me explain it this way. The United States has created the most expensive racing car in the world but the race it will run is over an off-road course littered with rocks, deep ruts and sandy mountains. In short, the vehicle will breakdown and not complete the race.
Here is Andrei’s summation of the problem:
Manipulation and PR are no substitute for actual victory which is defined universally as achieving the political objectives of the war, or in Clausewitz’s one liner—the ability to compel the enemy to do our will. The United States military’s balance sheet on that is simply not impressive, despite a mammoth military budget, immensely expensive weapons and a massive, well-oiled PR machine. All this is the result of the US military-industrial complex long ago becoming a jobs program for retired Pentagon generals and an embodiment of the neoconservative “view” on war—a view developed by people, most of whom never served a single day in uniform and do not possess even basic fundamental knowledge of the physical principles on which modern weapons operate and how technological dimensions reflect upon tactical, operational and strategic aspects of war (they are all tightly interconnected and do not exist separately). But talking up or blowing out of proportion, or grossly exaggerating US military capabilities does not require a serious academic and experiential foundation—today it is enough to have that desire and a good command of the English language to do so.Excerpt From Losing Military Supremacy by Andrei Martyanov
I want to focus on three key weapon systems–Air Craft Carriers and Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles.
U.S. Air Craft Carriers played a critical role in defeating Japan in World War II, but are no longer effective if deployed in combat against China or Russia. The first problem is the cost. It is staggering:
The cost of the Navy’s next three carriers is on the rise, due in part for installation of equipment and electronics to handle the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. . . .
All in all, the cost of the Kennedy, now more than 80% complete at Newport News Shipbuilding, will rise by $531 million, or 4.7% from the estimate in last year’s justification document, to $11.93 billion, the Navy now says.
The cost of the third carrier in the Ford class, the Enterprise, will rise $84 million, to $12.41 billion, while the fourth carrier in the class, the Doris Miller, will see a $33 million increase to $12.48 billion. Both ships are under construction at Newport News.
The cost of Kennedy’s basic construction — the hull, structures and mechanical systems, is set to rise by $368 million.
Five of these air craft carriers account for 7.5% of the U.S. Defense budget. But here is the problem. These ships have no capability to defeat a Russian or Chinese hypersonic missile. Andrei discusses the implications:
The introduction into service in 2017 of the 3M22 Zircon hyper-sonic missile is already dramatically redefining naval warfare and makes even remote sea zones a “no-sail” zone for any US major surface combatant, especially aircraft carriers. Currently, and for the foreseeable future, no technology capable of intercepting such a missile exists or will exist. . . .the X-32 (Kh-32) cruise missile whose range is 1000 kilometers and has a speed in excess of Mach 4.2. This missile, apart from being able to attack anything on the ground, is capable, in fact was designed primarily for the purpose, of hitting anything moving on the surface of the sea. The missile, let alone a salvo of them, is incredibly difficult, if even possible at all, to intercept and as the above-mentioned demonstration showed, Iran most likely would have no problem with allowing these very TU-22M3s to operate from her airspace in the event of a worst case scenario. Launched anywhere from the Darab area, the hypothetical salvo would not only cover all of the Persian Gulf but will reliably close off the Gulf of Oman for any naval force. No ship, no Carrier Battle Group would be able to enter this area in the event of a conventional conflict with Russia in Syria—the strategic ramifications of this are enormous.”Excerpt From Losing Military Supremacy by Andrei Martyanov
The cornerstone of America’s national defense is the nuclear triad–land based, sea launched and air launched nuclear missiles:
A compilation of platforms and weapons, the three legs of the U.S. nuclear triad serve as the backbone of America’s national security. The triad, along with assigned forces, provide 24/7 deterrence to prevent catastrophic actions from our adversaries and they stand ready, if necessary, to deliver a decisive response, anywhere, anytime.
Until recently the United States leaders and policy experts assumed that Mutual Assured Destruction would keep nuclear powers from killing each other. But what happens to that assumption/calculation when one side develops and deploys an advanced missile system that can shoot down the missiles launched from land, air and sea? Guess what? Russia’s S-500 air defense system does exactly that. Here is Andrei’s assessment:
the revolutionary S-500 air-defense system may completely close Russia and her allies’ airspace from any aerial or even ballistic threats. These developments alone completely devalue the astronomically expensive USAF front line combat aviation and its colossal investment into the very limited benefits of stealth, a euphemism primarily for “invisibility” in radio diapason, the mediocre F-35 being a prime example of the loss of common engineering, tactical and operational sense. Radiophotonics detection technologies will make all expenditures on stealth, without exception, simply a waste of money and resources.”Excerpt From Losing Military Supremacy by Andrei Martyanov
What is the US strategy to counter this technology? You may think I am making this up, but a friend who is plugged into our defense plans explained it this way:
We will try to flood the Russian air space with so many missiles that some may get through.
Got it? We are not relying on technological superiority. We are hoping that some missiles get through.
Andrei’s objective in writing this book was to try to shake the American elites from their delusions about Russia and Russian technology and help them see the grave flaws in the U.S. defense systems that eat up so much of the gargantuan U.S. defense budget. Neither Andrei nor I want war between the United States and Russia. I know that Andrei will agree with me, it is still in the interests of both sides to find a way to live in this world together without threatening one another. But if conflict comes it is highly likely that the expensive veneer of perceived U.S. military might will be stripped away and the United States will find itself ill-equipped to fight a genuine first world power.