Heritage Foundation report shows drop in U.S. military power

The conservative Heritage Foundation think-tank has published its 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength, a yearly accounting of America’s ability to project force around the globe.

This year’s report downgraded the U.S. Army’s capabilities from “Marginal” to “Weak” due to fewer combat brigades ready for deployment while the Air Force was moved from “Strong” to “Marginal.” The Navy and Marine Corps saw no change in the rankings, continuing to be classified as “Marginal.”

The report also saw rising threat levels for various American foes — as well as  perceived foes — including Russia, the Middle East, and North Korea. The overall threat level was marked as “Elevated.” The index highlighted the significant rise of cyber threats to U.S. interests as well.

The annual report has garnered much criticism over the years as the Heritage Foundation is partially funded by major defense contractors. Despite the potential for pro-military spending bias in the right-wing foundation’s reports, though, the Index of U.S. Military Strength remains an influential document for policy-makers in Washington D.C.

Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), blames the Obama administration for the lowered war-fighting capability because of cuts to military budgets.

“The Heritage Foundation’s 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength confirms what every top military commander has warned: mindless across-the-board spending cuts under sequestration are crippling America’s military readiness and capability at a time when we face a complex array of challenges not seen since the end of World War II,” McCain said.

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