This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

National Security for 2021
James Atticus Bowden 11/23/2021 11:01 AM



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Since 1990-92 when I led the last Army 21 Study aimed at the years 2005-2015, I’ve worked and studied in the field of Army futures.  Developing the future concepts for the Army requires studying every aspect of National Security.  Based on my experience, I’d ask the first order question “When?”  Because National Security now isn’t the same as 10 years from now or 20 years later. 

Let’s look at National Security right now – 2021.

At this time, these United States live in a window of relative safety and assured survival.  That security window will close in the not too distant future.  

When it comes to survival, Russia can nuke us, but has no reason to commit suicide. 

China can nuke our West Coast and will be able to hit all of the U.S. very soon. Our Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) defense won’t be able to stop the PRC hyper-velocity missile when they prefect it.  

When that day comes, the U.S. will have to have alternative weapons to defend or pre-empt the Chinese, because it’s unlikely that the PRC will go along with a Cold War-like détente based on Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD).  How to prevent or win nuclear war with the Chinese is the greatest single challenge through the next 30 years or more for our future National Security.

Consequently, our most important task today is to develop the capabilities to win tomorrow.

The U.S. has sufficient forces and lift to deal with almost all current military threats with a few key


  •        If the PRC invades Taiwan, as they have practiced for decades, the U.S. would be hard-pressed to stop the invasion from the sea because of the number and range of Chinese ship-killing missiles.  Likewise, the U.S. would be challenged to move enough ground forces fast enough to defeat the PRC on Taiwan.
  •        Likewise, if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. can’t get enough of our Army there fast enough.  Our air forces would reinforce bases too far to the west to generate enough sorties.  Also, there’d be a significant fight to win air superiority. 
  •        North Korea on the offense and in collapse would be chaotic and challenging but not catastrophic to the U.S. unless the PRC made it a cause de guerre.  It’d be very messy.
  •        If Iran threatens or uses its new nukes, it’s highly likely that Israel will deal with them.  
  •        Whatever threat arises out of the new caliphate in Afghanistan can cause damage, like 9-11, but won’t rise to risk our national survival.

The next conflict will likely be the one that no one expects.  It could come with a “jacquerie” in Europe against the Islamists and their Elite apologists, along the bloody border of Islam and Christendom in Africa, in a surprise uprising in Venezuela or Cuba, or a sudden Turkish strike.  Regardless, for most of the coming decade, the U.S. has a sufficient military force structure and capabilities.

The Cartels in Mexico combined with the illegal alien invasion blur the line between crime and war sufficiently to demand serious study.  Should the Cartels, and by extension Mexico as a Narco-State, be treated as threats to our National Security, a war plan needs the sophistication of WW II thinking.  The kinetic aspects of combat have to fit into a strategy of end game economic, cultural, and political goals.  

Contrary to the Biden Administration claims, climate change isn’t a threat to National Security.    

Wokeness and Critical Race Theory is an existential threat to the Army and other services.  Likewise, culling out soldiers who refuse forced vaccinations that don’t actually work as vaccinations, weakens the forces.  Promoting gender equity and promoting the mentally illness of sexual dysphoria as “Trans” rights diminishes combat effectiveness. 

The state of our U.S. National Security in 2021, is adequate, but suffering from poor senior leadership.  Adequate has a half-life of short years.

Consider the rout and surrender in Afghanistan in August 2021. The CENTCOM Commander either had a sound plan rejected – which should have caused him to quit immediately, or he bears responsibility for the military abortion and should be fired.  Instead, there is no accountability for the abject failure.  Rewarding failure and protecting weak senior leaders promises more failures in the future.

The next President needs to purge the senior leadership of the DoD and armed services.  He must promote leaders who will get ready to win the next war. 

The current administration needs to stop spending our economy into an inflation spiral and socialist bankruptcy.  The economy is a major component of our National Security.  Breaking America, disarms America. 

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James Atticus Bowden
James Atticus Bowden is a co-founder of the Virginia First Foundation. He is a retired U.S. Army Officer and Defense Consultant. His home of record upon entering the United States Military Academy was Arlington, Virginia. He graduated in 1972. Bowden served as an airborne, ranger infantry officer in 5 Divisions. He earned graduate degrees from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. He taught as an Assistant Professor at USMA and Adjunct Faculty at the College of William and Mary. Mr. Bowden wrote his first op ed the week after 9-11. He has written over 1k pieces since then. He posts on his blog, “Deo Vindice”, He self-published a novel, Rosetta 6.2, and non-fiction work, “A Grief Felt.” He has resided in Poquoson, Virginia for over 30 years.

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