Assessing U.S. national interests and America’s ability to defend those interests is one of the foremost responsibilities of the federal government.

The Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of U.S. Military Strength has become a key resource for policymakers. It contains the latest assessments of global threats, operating environments, and the status of the U.S. military.

This Thursday, Heritage released the 2018 Index of U.S. Military Strength. We hosted a special discussion from notable national security experts on the components critical to the defense of our nation.

Watch a video recording of the event here >>

James Jay Carafano, leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges and Vice President of Heritage’s Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, worked closely in the compilation and completion of this year’s Index. He says:

“The publication of the 2018 index could not be more important or timely. President Trump is committed to a peace through strength strategy but Congress has yet to act to provide the resources needed. The index will be a wake-up call on how vital it is to get started with efficiently and smartly rebuilding American military prowess.”

The keynote address was given by The Honorable Mac Thornberry (R-TX), the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

The Index and discussion explore a comprehensive list of topics- including the characteristics and nature of major war-fighting domains: land, sea, air, space, cyber and joint, providing insights of value to professionals and amateurs alike in understanding the modern nature of conflict in these domains.

What do you think is the biggest challenge our military strength faces today?

Comments (17)

Mark Wellman - October 8, 2017

The biggest challenge to our nation’s military might and resources is congress!

Ragnar Liljequist - October 8, 2017

Washington corruption and dishonesty will continue until we have term limits in Congress. Term limits will correct many problems; even our military strength!

Angel L. Riguero Sr. - October 8, 2017

Well, first than all the great problem was the eight tragic years of the Obama’s
legacy……..and second the Republican party and the so-called Republicans like McCain, Graham, Mitchell and some
other DemoRats lovers that work against
our President.

Caroline Woodis - October 8, 2017

Our military men and women face being sent out to do the job assigned to without adequate supplies, resources to keep them safe as they try to do the best job possible. They need and deserve more respect, protection and thanks than they ever get. And now they have lost their chaplains to be able to adequately meet their needs when facing life or death situations for months on end without the support they need. Shameful.

Albert (Alberto) Castro Jr - October 8, 2017

I think our military’s biggest challenges today is proper funding and weapons systems up grades.

Mrs. Phyllis Eix - October 8, 2017

I believe in “Peace through Strength”, and want to see our military capabilities strengthened to war time levels, after more than a decade of shrinking our forces.

LaVonne Howard - October 8, 2017

The biggest challenge to our military that I see is the damage done by Obama.
He rewrote the manuals for the military and our local police taking away their religious freedom, turning our local police into a military unit with military equipment.
He cut our military size and equipment to handicap our capacity to maintain our sovernty.

Charles Nelson - October 8, 2017

A great challenge has been rules of engagement. Today, one of the greatest challenges is retaining experienced personnel.

Nancy ellis - October 8, 2017

I believe we have allowed non Americans to enlist in the different services . I believe this is the result of so many “so called accidents” . We have been infiltrated with terrorists. Someone is not competent in their job??? We’re having way to many in the Service , killed for incompetence . This needs to be taken care of immediately ?

stephen palmer - October 8, 2017

The American military is in a unique position on the world stage and has been for many many years. We have been and still are the most advanced military in the world with the most dedicated freedom loving men and women. It goes without saying that the muslim terrorist plant obama did tremendous damage to our services. One of the major problems this country has is the funding of programs and organizations that simply do not and never have worked coupled with the tremendous outlay of finances to organisations the we the people want to get rid of. Our welfare system is completely out of control and being being taken advantage of by millions of people. Funding for the abortion industry and sanctuary cities just to name a couple is diminishing our budget by billions of dollars a year. The President has talked about payback for the expenditures incurred when going overseas to help. This needs to stop and we need to be compensated. The money we send overseas much of which we don’t even know about has to be reigned in. Just to add my beliefs lobbying is nothing more than a nation wide scam perpetrated by politicians on the tax payers. To get to the point of my previous comments we need to do two things. Remove the funding from all the programs that are wasting our money leaving the government with billions and billions of dollars to fund our military.

Brenda Strauch - October 8, 2017

Democrats and RINOS and earmarks are the biggest problem. Our military is under-manned, under-supplied, under-equipped, under-financed and overpolitically-correct! Its budget is constantly swollen with stuff that does nothing to enhance the security of our nation. Warriors cannot do their jobs on sensitivity training or when no one has their backs. Let Chaplains do their jobs also.

Gregory Nielsen - October 8, 2017

Funding and training/retraining has got to be a major prioity for strengthening our military.
A close second has to be the curtailment of wasteful spending…buy hasn’t that always been a challenge?

Katherine - October 8, 2017

A big problem is those in Congress who do not believe in a strong military. They want to invest the funds elsewhere.
THINK Pearl Harbor.
The Congress neglected to do what was necessary to defend our country.
Read A Matter of Honor by Anthony Summers & Robbyn Swan – General Kimmel asked repeatedly for reinforcements to prevent an attack. After the attack he was blamed for the event & his career destroyed. It was Washington DC, Congress who was at fault.

Domingo - October 8, 2017

The Pentagon needs to use the money allotted to the military responsibly.
Cyber warfare I think is a major challenge. I haven’t read why two of our warships were involved in collisions not too long ago.
I think also that politics is a problem for our military. There are some people that are war hawks and keep our forces engaged in conflicts where they should not be.

Kathleen - October 9, 2017

I can’t begin to know the practical needs of our military or what they need to defend our country. It would seem from the accidents and loss of life in the Navy they are in grave need of resources. We should listen to our military leaders and provide the resources needed to protect us. The military needs our respect, gratitude and prayers. Shame on all of us for the loss of chaplains!

Jeanne - October 10, 2017

The biggest challenge our military faces today is erosion of the set of values upon which this country was founded. Without a common bond between citizens, what binds us together? E pluribus Unum — of many, one.
Symbols of our country’s values such as our flag, our pledge of allegiance, and our anthem, as well as the values of our country — our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution of the United States, and our Bill of Rights — are under attack in many ways. Until we as a people show respect for the values which should unite us, our military will not get the financial and emotional support it needs and deserves.
“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” (JFK)

William Coates - October 11, 2017

Our biggest challenge is asymmetrical warfare, both abroad and at home. ISIS and other Islamic groups like Boko Haram are armed forces in unarmed cultures, where weapons are hard to come by for most citizens. African people need a Second Amendment too.
At home, Antifa uses civil disorder with duped leftist students to attack police and intimidate peaceful citizens. Social media are weaponized by them. Sabotage may be expected from that quarter, or from Islamic sleeper cells.
The existential threat is from North Korea or Islam, who plan to use EMP attacks on us and are covertly supplied with the necessary technology by Russia, China, and perhaps Pakistan.
Actual major ground attacks or air battles are now obsolete.

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