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You undoubtedly have heard of SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  Today, we look at some of the weaknesses in America’s defense posture that have not received a lot of attention.

A 2020 Pentagon study found 77 percent of today’s 17- to 24-year-olds are ineligible for military service without a waiver, up 6 percent from 2017.  Obesity, alcohol and drug abuse, poor health, and mental health issues are the primary reasons.  This makes recruitment a challenge, especially among a generation less interested and less respectful of the military than previous generations were.

China is rapidly building up its nuclear forces, aided by American technology obtained by Chinese spies, but also transferred through U.S. space and nuclear cooperation in the 1990s.  Our naïveté is the weakness I want to highlight here.

Russian software found its way into U.S. Army applications.  The software company presented itself as American, but is actually based in Siberia.  The concern is the Russian government could compel the company to turn over data collected from U.S. Army apps.  The U.S. wing of the company claimed it severed ties with the Russian part, but failed to document its assertion when journalists asked.

Hundreds of Chinese-made drones are flying over restricted airspace in D.C.  Even if China is not flying the drones itself, experts worry the drones could still be sending data to China covertly.  There were more than a hundred drone incursions in a recent 45-day period.

The military’s support facilities are ancient and falling apart.  Maintenance for aircraft hangars, motor pools, supply depots and the like has been deferred for so long our military readiness is being called into question.

Experts also worry our missile defenses have not kept pace with Chinese and Russian advances in hypersonic and cruise missiles.  Here we have another area underfunded for decades and in need of modernization.

We have a huge defense budget, so where is all the money going?  It’s been observed a lot of it is just social spending – housing, schools, healthcare, and other social services for personnel – not direct outlays for force readiness.  Then there’s this: the Navy is top-heavy with flag officers, that is, admirals and generals.  In World War II, there was one flag officer for every 7,500 sailors.  Today, it’s one flag officer for every 1,250 enlisted personnel.  The Navy has been called a “Lamborghini welfare program” for flag officers who are well paid and get hefty pensions.

Finally, the Biden administration must be counted among America’s weaknesses.  The Biden people have shown themselves much more interested in transgender training for the troops than in bolstering America’s war-fighting capabilities.  The Biden administration is just not taking defense seriously.  Here are three recent examples: The administration reversed posthumously the decision to revoke the security clearance of Robert Oppenheimer, a nuclear scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project which developed the first atom bomb.  The reversal came even though it’s well established Oppenheimer passed nuclear secrets to the Soviets.  The administration is also considering the appointment of a civilian to head up our missile defense, an unprecedented move experts warn will compromise national security.  Biden’s Treasury Department removed safeguards on humanitarian aid, making it easier for taxpayer dollars to reach designated terrorists in conflict zones.

Naïveté, lack of seriousness, and fat disinterested kids.  These are self-inflicted wounds which must be addressed.  We cannot take our security for granted.

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