On January 12th, 2016, two U.S. Navy riverine boats were navigating south through the Persian Gulf to Bahrain near Iran’s Farsi Island and were surrounded by six Iranian military boats. The occupants of the Iranian boats demanded the U.S. sailors surrender at gunpoint. The U.S. sailors quickly surrendered.
As a result the Iranians were able to copy the contents of computers aboard the American ships and parade the surrendered American Sailors in front of Iranian media. The incident has been classified by the Obama administration and details are not being released to the public. Many pundits are wondering why the American soldiers were so quick to release classified information to the Iranians and why they turned over computer access to the Iranians so quickly. It is believed that the readiness crisis sweeping across every branch of our military and Obama’s weak foreign policy is the reason.
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) is rightfully attacking Obama and is laying out countless examples. As one example he said, “In 2007, the Navy could meet 90 percent of our combatant commanders’ needs around the globe. This year, they’ll only meet 42 percent.”
Rep. Forbes is Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.
Obama is regularly criticized for appeasing foreign leaders. Rep. Forbes has been especially vocal about Obama’s willingness to give in to foreign leaders demands to avoid conflict. He claims Obama is “giving in to bullies” and that when you give into bullies they only become more bold. He cited several recent events. The American Spectator sat down with Rep. Forbes where he was swift to rattle off damning evidence:
“The Russians are now flying over our ships at about thirty feet above the deck. We see the Chinese telling us we can’t even do a port call in Hong Kong. We see them intercepting our P-3s and trying to literally push us out of the South China Sea… And we see the Iranians’ actions”
Forbes claims that it is only a matter of time until Iranians threaten to shut the strait of Hormuz. He says that the solution to the issue is preventing Obama from appeasing these foreign powers, the most efficient way to do this is to restore the seapower our soldiers need to defend themselves and our allies.
Forbes claims that the readiness crisis was caused by the Obama administration. A lack of funding and supplies has forced our soldiers to take parts from antiquated aircraft to fix our current fleet, it has forced Marines to rely on foreign ships to deliver them to “trouble spots” and has led to a severe lack of man power that allow us to only man six out of our ten carriers.
The readiness crisis isn’t only limited to aircraft. Our submarines, which normally take priority over other ships, have also been forced to resorting to cannibalizing other ships for parts and resources. Ships that are scheduled for 28 months of repairs are forced to sit in dry-docks for upwards of 40 months while our servicemen sit idly by.
While our military struggles to maintain our fleet our potential enemies continue to make improvements. The U.S. Navy’s fleet has dwindled to 272 ships while other countries, such as China, have seen their surface fleet grow to over 300 ships with plans to add over 72 submarines in the next two years.
Forbes is only one of many people who fear that our readiness crisis will lead to further appeasement by the Obama administration. As our Navy fleet continues to dwindle and struggle to maintain itself our soldiers moral and confidence also continues to dwindle. Forbes alluded to the idea that the soldiers captured by the Iranian sailors were influenced by the readiness crisis and that their lack of confidence was a determining factor in causing them to quickly give up information and computer access.
Forbes states that if the next president of the United States does not make addressing the readiness crisis their number one priority our shortfalls will continue to grow, the gap between the U.S. and competing nations will increase and our ability to perform necessary military operations will dwindle.