The National Interest published an article, in which the US analysts admitted that there are three key areas where Russia either already has or is starting to gain an advantage over US. According to Lisa Sawyer Samp, a senior fellow at CSIS’ International Security Program, the US capability gap with regard to Russia is real, although it is regionally focused in Central and Eastern Europe.
The three key areas where Russia is advantageous are the combined arms warfare, cyber and electronic warfare, and A2/AD. A2/AD stands for Anti-Access/Area Denial, a system dedicated to prevent an adversary from occupying or traversing an area of land, sea or air, usually endangering them
According to experts, the United States has the right tools to take on Russian A2/AD zones in the European theatre, but it does not have enough capacity to take on Moscow’s new bastions head-on.
The US military is overly reliant on air power to defeat those emerging threats, according to retired US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, former commander of US European Command.
“We have the tools, but we do not have nearly enough of them—and the speed that we would need to eliminate these A2/AD bubbles—to be able to deploy our forces is going to be controlled by the depth of the bench of how we can attack those A2/AD forces. Right now, we’re almost completely dependent on air forces and aviation assets in order to attack the A2/AD problem.”
The article cites Evelyn Farkas, who until recently served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. She said that although Moscow spends less money overall on defense than the US, it modernizes its forces in a very strategic way. “It’s not as if they’re modernizing across the board,” Farkas said. “But they’re doing it in a very clever way, and so they’re increasing their capabilities in certain key conventional areas…cruise missiles, the air defense systems etc. Which are causing quite a problem for us.”