That’s a question Just the News‘ Susan Katz Keating asked in her recent article.
One of the “Pentagon war-planners” she interviewed had this to say about our military’s considerations of that sort of question.
We hold modeling scenarios about this on a regular basis. We work out the likelihood of what would happen in a multi-front war. In the scenarios, we do well.
Frankly, I’d have to see the scenarios before I could think this believable.
I wonder if any of their scenarios include cyber attacks on our national energy and water infrastructure and our financial centers, coupled with EMP strikes against our fleet afloat and against our land force command units and bases, coupled with attacks against our orbiting GPS and com assets, coupled with “kinetic” attacks on those sea and land—and air—forces and against our homeland.
I’d then like to see them run a scenario where we’re attacked in that broad spectrum way by two geographically separated enemies at least roughly simultaneously.
I note with dismay the emphasis (elsewhere in the article) on “major conflict” with little apparent consideration of “total war.” The war gamers also seem to limit their perception of our enemies’ goals to their desiring victory in limited war—a badly outmoded concept. Are they considering that our enemies don’t think like we do, have different value sets than we do?
The gamers simply seem oblivious to the likelihood that our enemies have different views of what constitutes victory than we do, that their war goals aren’t merely to force us to give them something, but rather to conquer us and occupy us. Or to destroy us altogether as a society, much less a polity; not considering that we have anything of value to give them but our deaths.
Regarding Russia and the People’s Republic of China in particular, another of Keating’s interviewees had this:
The two prospective opponents “conveniently pose very different military problems, allowing the United States to allocate some of its assets to one, and the rest to the other,” Farley wrote in an essay exploring whether the US could survive concurrent wars.
A conveniently posed scenario, with convenient assumptions built in.
All of that comes against the backdrop of our last several administrations eroding—deliberately or through disinterest or plain incompetence—our military capability:
The US previously approached multi-war scenarios with a doctrine to “defeat; defeat; deny” up to three enemies. Under that approach, US forces would defeat two opponents and block a third. Now, according to the Pentagon war-planner source, the aim is to “defeat; deny.”
What was that about one is none, two is one, three is backup? Now we’re down to one and a hope.