Top Armed Services Democrat: US military readiness a ‘huge problem’
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the House Armed Services committee, said U.S. military readiness is a “huge problem” as global tensions heighten and the war in Ukraine rages on.
“This is a huge problem. And we don’t have the industrial base. And we don’t have the ability to ramp up that industrial base,” Smith told host Shannon Bream on “FOX News Sunday.”
Concern is growing among experts that U.S. support for Ukraine’s war against Russia could hinder U.S. military readiness should another conflict arise with China in the near future.
Smith warned that without a “demand signal,” manufacturers don’t want to make a “major investment” in increasing production, and American taxpayers “don’t want to spend a ton of money on weapons that we don’t need.”
But the Armed Services ranking member said he and committee chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) share the “huge priority” to up the country’s weapon production capacity as conflict simmers on the global stage.
“We need to increase that ability to surge when we need it, which means we desperately need to increase our manufacturing base for key weapons systems,” Smith said.
Russia’s war on Ukraine is nearing its one-year mark next month, and a U.S. general reportedly said Friday that the U.S. could be at war with China by 2025.
“Anything is possible. I’m really worried, though, when anyone starts talking about war with China being inevitable. And I want to be completely clear: it’s not only not inevitable, it is highly unlikely… I don’t think we should be out there telling the world that we’re going to war with China, most importantly because we’re not,” Smith said.
“War is not inevitable. That’s a very dangerous situation that we need to be prepared for, but I’m fully confident that we can avoid that conflict if we take the right approach.”
President Biden announced last week that the U.S. will join Germany and other Western nations in equipping Ukraine with battle tanks as it continues its counteroffensive against Russia, a move Moscow has painted as “direct involvement” in the war.
Smith underscored that the aid was not equivalent to engaging in the conflict.
“We are not going to have the U.S. or NATO get in direct conflict with Russia. And that is going to continue to be the case. We’re going to provide these tanks to Ukraine. Ukraine is going to operate them. We are not, repeat, not going to war with Russia,” Smith said.
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