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US must be ready for simultaneous wars with China, Russia, report says

Published 10/12/2023, 11:04 AM
Updated 10/12/2023, 10:55 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 2:10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, U.S., August 2, 2017.   U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Ian Dudley/Handou

By Jonathan Landay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States must prepare for possible simultaneous wars with Russia and China by expanding its conventional forces, strengthening alliances and enhancing its nuclear weapons modernization program, a congressionally appointed bipartisan panel said on Thursday.

The report from the Strategic Posture Commission comes amid tensions with China over Taiwan and other issues and worsening frictions with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

A senior official involved in the report declined to say if the panel's intelligence briefings showed any Chinese and Russian nuclear weapons cooperation.

"We worry ... there may be ultimate coordination between them in some way, which gets us to this two-war construct," the official said on condition of anonymity.

The findings would upend current U.S. national security strategy calling for winning one conflict while deterring another and require huge defense spending increases with uncertain congressional support.

"We do recognize budget realities, but we also believe the nation must make these investments," the Democratic chair, Madelyn Creedon, a former deputy head of the agency that oversees U.S. nuclear weapons, and the vice chair, Jon Kyl, a retired Republican senator, said in the report's preface.

Addressing a briefing held to release the report, Kyl said the president and Congress must "take the case to the American people" that higher defense spending is a small price to pay "to hopefully preclude" a possible nuclear war involving the United States, China and Russia.

The report contrasts with U.S. President Joe Biden's position that the current U.S. nuclear arsenal is sufficient to deter the combined forces of Russia and China.

The arsenal's makeup "still exceeds what is necessary to hold a sufficient number of adversary targets at risk so as to deter enemy nuclear attack," the Arms Control Association advocacy group said in response to the report.

"The United States and its allies must be ready to deter and defeat both adversaries simultaneously," the Strategic Posture Commission said. "The U.S.-led international order and the values it upholds are at risk from the Chinese and Russian authoritarian regimes."

Congress in 2022 created the panel of six Democrats and six Republicans to assess long-term threats to the United States and recommend changes in U.S. conventional and nuclear forces.

The panel accepted a Pentagon forecast that China's rapid nuclear arsenal expansion likely will give it 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035, confronting the United States with a second major nuclear-armed rival for the first time.

The Chinese and Russian threats will become acute in the 2027-2035 timeframe so "decisions need to be made now in order for the nation to be prepared," said the 145-page report.

The report said the 30-year U.S. nuclear arms modernization program, which began in 2010 and was estimated in 2017 to cost around $400 billion by 2046, must be fully funded to upgrade all warheads, delivery systems and infrastructure on schedule.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 2:10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, U.S., August 2, 2017.   U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Ian Dudley/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Other recommendations included deploying more tactical nuclear weapons in Asia and Europe, developing plans to deploy some or all reserve U.S. nuclear warheads, and production of more B-21 stealth bombers and new Columbia-class nuclear submarines beyond the numbers now planned.

The panel also called for boosting the "size, type, and posture" of U.S. and allied conventional forces. If such measures are not taken, the United States "will likely" have to increase its reliance on nuclear weapons, the report said.

Latest comments

Just for heads up that I did not authorize anything for any purchase or any of my money to be put into a system of my weaponry as in the head of the ownership of the weapons and ammunition I still need to be briefed in on a situations that you are assuming that is being presented. So saying to renters as in I am the owner as in the ranking officer of the armys
Wonder how much the weapon manufacturers contribute to these bipartisan panels kitty.......
this article is madness
Panel members must be well supported by the US military industrial complex by funding and information for them to create detailed report on the US weakness and enemy strength. With this conclusion, the US budget for military spending must be increased. Wondering who will benefit from this increase in spending? US citizen or the military industrial complex corporations?
You are backwards in writing about the USA. Don't refer to the strongest nation in the works as weakness as they referring to our ability to continue paying for ever more strength. China won't have enough men to fill its military needs and it will never have enough people to fill its empty. build it and they will come will only work in a western democracy that. people want to visit. the magic of European countries us that people actually want freedom and will risk their lives to get it. not so much elsewhere.
it's the strength of reconstitution.
Hopefully our great nation can reverse course on the woke policies...if not then we are absolutely screwed. The Chinese Army doesn't care about what pronouns we use.
move to the 'non-woke' china then, and enjoy he totalitarian oppression you are pining and simping for...
woke = communism
world leaders need to remove their heads from their behinds.. there will be nothing after a ww3...
For who? For them or for us? They will be fine in the high-end bunkers...
zs well, sooner or later, they'll have to come out of their bunkers and enter the radioactive hellscape of their own making. the ones that died instantly, before, will be the lucky ones...
world leaders need to remove their heads from their aholes.. there will be nothing after a ww3...
We live in a sad world where these people promote wars instead of peace.
teck you are, of course, absolutely right
But the reality is man brings war
Being ready to fight deters invasion and promotes peace, for the US and its allies.  It is costly, though.  Think of it as paying for insurance or hedging.
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