Military Power Report Credits Army Readiness Gains

Military Power Report Credits Army Readiness Gains

Photo by: Sgt. Steven Lewis

The Heritage Foundation’s “2020 Index of U.S. Military Strength” once again scores the U.S. Army as “marginal” because dramatic improvements in brigade combat team readiness are offset by continuing struggles to modernize the force and grow troop levels. 

The Army isn’t alone. The report also rates the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and U.S. nuclear capabilities as marginal. The new U.S. Space Force is not ranked in the 2020 report. 

With 28 brigade combat teams at the highest readiness levels, including as many as four in the Army National Guard, Heritage describes the Army as being in a “very strong” readiness condition. 

In terms of capacity, the foundation believes the Army should have available 50 brigade combat teams to be fully sized to meet threats, particularly if faced with two major regional conflicts. But the Army’s current brigade combat team capacity is projected to be 70% of that benchmark, earning it a score of “weak,” according to the report.

The report ranks the Army as “marginal” when it comes to capability, largely because of the age of its equipment and the health of its modernization programs. While acknowledging the Army has ambitious plans, the report says the new programs “remain in the development phases and in most cases are years from entering procurement phases.” 

There is hope, but “they are not yet replacing legacy platforms and do not contribute to the Army’s current warfighting capability,” the report says. “These planned procurements are highly sensitive to any turbulence or reduction in funding.” 

The full report, including scores by weapons systems, is available here.