U.S. Ground Forces: Not Ready for a Big War


Image credit: Poster Collection, US 7319, Hoover Institution Archives.


This past week, we heard from multiple service chiefs that key components of our military, particularly our land forces, may not be ready for a “big war” of the sort we’d face with China or Russia—or for a combination-play conflict against two second-tier foes, such as Iran and North Korea.

The generals were right. But not about the most basic reason why we’re not prepared. Congressional testimony stressed deficient numbers and aging equipment. Those factors certainly matter. The greater problem, though, is that today’s officers (and our countrymen) are not mentally prepared for high-intensity conflict, with its devastating casualties and traumatic destruction. We lack the mindset, the grit, and the psychological resilience, along with the tactical and operational repertoire, to win. Continue reading