Sunday, 17 May 2020 6:26 PM [ Last Update: Sunday, 17 May 2020 6:27 PM ]
A US Army soldier leads a group of Iraqi troops in July 2011. (Photo by the US Department of Defense)
American military officials say the US special operations forces are ill-equipped for high-tech warfare with China and Russia, stressing the need for Washington to develop new capabilities in the field of military power to be able to compete with the two geopolitical rivals.
General Richard Clarke, commander of special operations command (Socom), told a virtual conference this week that the US needed to develop new capabilities to “compete and win” with Russia and China.
Clarke added that the 70,000-strong Socom forces, which include US Navy Seals, Army Green Berets and Marine Corps Raiders, must develop cyber skills and focus on influence campaigns rather than “the kill-capture missions” that characterized their time in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Clarke made the comments as both Russia and China are developing high-tech military capabilities to field the technology and erode America’s military dominance.More US troops die during training than in combat operationsBetween 2006 and 2018, 31.9% of active-duty US military deaths were the result of accidents, according to a congressional report updated last month.
“Maybe we are further behind than we know,”Colonel Michael McGuire, director of combat developments at Socom, also told the conference.
“Things just moved much more quickly than we expected,” he said of the new threats from adversaries, citing the erosion of America’s traditional military advantages in the sky, space and communications.
Proposing shifting focus to defense over attack, McGuire highlighted US vulnerabilities in cyber security and said soft-power tactics by America’s rivals could “drive fissures through some of our alliances.”
A former US military commander, not named in reports, said Socom would need to plan operations without GPS or access to satellites, and needed to develop cheaper equipment in case satellites were shot out of the sky.
“Special operations forces are not ready for operations against a near-peer foe, such as China, in a direct engagement,” the former commander told the Financial Times.
“We need special operations forces to find a way to operate in running gun battles and other scenarios without communications,” he said, adding that units would have to be cut off from higher command and execute plans on the ground with “substantially less oversight than we have practiced in the recent war on terror.”
In a rhetoric that fueled fears of a new nuclear arms race, President Donald Trump said on Friday that the US was building “incredible military equipment, at a level that nobody’s ever seen before.”Trump: US will beat out Russia and China with ‘super duper missile’While unveiling the flag for his new Space Force, President Trump has said the US will beat out military rivals including Russia and China with “
Trump said that Washington has “no choice with the adversaries we have out there,” referring to China and Russia.
The US Defense Department said in March it had successfully tested an unarmed hypersonic missile, a weapon that could potentially overwhelm other missile defense systems.
Back in 2018, Trump directed the Pentagon to establish the Space Force – the first new US military branch in 72 years – calling for the US’s “dominance in space.”
Late last year, he signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that includes funds for the country’s controversial Space Force.
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