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Why COVID-19 Is Undermining the US as a Military Superpower

04-27-2020
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COVID-19 has had a detrimental effect on most areas of our society, including the US military. The impact on infected troops and their family members is only part of the story.

"We're going to have a pivotal moment where the US is either going to reclaim or relinquish our military superiority in the next two to five years," said Bradley Bowman. He studies US defense strategy and policy. He fears the American military is in danger of being replaced as the world superpower.

"There are areas where China's or Russia's military have capabilities that are more advanced than ours and it pains me to say that," Bowman said.

Bowman says, for years, updating equipment took a back seat to the war on terror. He says only in the past few years has a focus been put toward research and development. The results of that work will be ready to implement in the next few years unless the COVID-19 strained economy puts it on the back burner.

"So what it means is we have all this research and development all these weapons that are ready to field our troops who desperately need them and then we won't be able to afford to provide them," Bowman said. "And what I fear what that could mean, I fear this gravely, is an end to a historic US military superiority."

Meanwhile, Bowman warns, our adversaries are consistently looking for weaknesses. He points to Russia that, even in the middle of a pandemic is still sending nuclear-equipped bombers to test our defenses in Alaska. 

"Their assessment of our strength is that we're getting weaker and weaker and that's going to invite the very thing that we're designed to avoid," Bowman said.

While Bowman says this is an urgent situation, he also maintains right now that the US retains sufficient combat power to protect the American people and our interests. But he says we'll have to act if we want to keep it that way and COVID-19 is making that much more challenging.

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