America's military edge is diminished, and in some cases erased – just as rival countries are getting savvier, stronger and more aggressive, according to a new analysis by a panel of former security officials and military experts. The stark conclusion: America could lose the next war it fights, CBS News reported.
"America's ability to defend its allies, its partners and its own vital interests is increasingly in doubt," the report's authors wrote. "It might struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against China or Russia."
The panel is called the National Defense Strategy Commission, and is made up of 12 former national security officials and experts. It was tasked one year ago with evaluating the nation's defenses, and reviewing the National Defense Strategy, a comprehensive planning document by the Defense Department that lays out military objectives.
"Russia and China are challenging the United States, its allies and its partners on a far greater scale than has any adversary since the Cold War's end," the authors wrote. "If the United States had to fight Russia in a Baltic contingency or China in a war over Taiwan," the report warned.
"Americans could face a decisive military defeat."
Adversaries have studied U.S. military strategies post-9/11 – and learned how to counter them, said commission co-chair Eric Edelman, in an interview with Intelligence Matters host and CBS News senior national security contributor Michael Morell, who is also among the members of the commission and who helped write its report.
"They've learned from what we've done. They've learned from our success," said Edelman, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. "And while we've been off doing a different kind of warfare, they've been prepared for a kind of warfare at the high end that we really haven't engaged in for a very long time. What that means is that we can't fight traditionally, the way we have fought," he said.