Military defense readiness amid COVID-19 pandemic
US opponents check country’s military readiness amid pandemic
US military leadership reports a series of hostile actions by Iran, Russia and the DPRK
WASHINGTON – A spate of hostilities from Iran, Russia and North Korea over the past two days has tested the readiness of American forces overseas as the US continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“We continue to stand guard,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in an interview with NBC on Thursday. “I am quite sure that we are 100 percent ready to deal with any threats and any opponents.”.
The Pentagon released a video that recorded repeated “dangerous approaches” by 11 Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vessels to six US vessels in international Gulf waters on Wednesday. Iranians approached 10 meters from the bow of the US Coast Guard boat “Maui”.
In international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea, a Russian Su-35 fighter aircraft made a dangerous interception of a US P-8A Poseidon observer aircraft, maneuvering less than 10 meters from the US mission aircraft. According to the US Navy, the crew of the P-8A after the incident reported a turbulent plume that lasted for about 40 minutes..
Gen. Tod Walters, Commander of the US European Command and Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces of NATO in Europe, called the maneuver “inappropriate” and “unprofessional”, adding that Moscow had been informed of US dissatisfaction with the incident..
US Space Command also reports that Russia tested an anti-satellite missile on Wednesday.
The day before, North Korea tested several short-range cruise missiles, launching them in the direction of the Sea of Japan.
This series of actions by opponents and rivals of the United States is likely to test the country’s military readiness against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Brad Bowman, senior director of the Center for Military and Political Power at the Defense Fund for Democracy..
“Without a doubt, they see a rare opportunity in a situation where the United States is going through a difficult period due to COVID-19. Whether we like it or not, this is an observable parameter that affected readiness, ”he says..
Bowman also noted a spike in Chinese military activity in the South China Sea, while US aircraft carriers in the Pacific remain idle..
The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, which recorded the outbreak of coronavirus, is docked off the coast of Guam, the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan is undergoing routine maintenance in Japan, and the aircraft carrier Nimitz is quarantined in Washington state..