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US Military Weakened When Spread Too Thin


Army Undersecretary Patrick Murphy listens at left as Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Army Undersecretary Patrick Murphy listens at left as Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.


A United States military leader says he is concerned about the ability of the U.S. to wage conventional war against countries like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

U.S. Army Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, told American lawmakers that focus in the Middle East has spread military resources thin.

The general told Congressmen if a conflict took place somewhere other than the Middle East, preparing for battle would be a challenge.

“If that [a conflict] were to happen, I would have grave concerns about the readiness of our force to deal with that in a timely manner,” Milley said.

The concern about readiness comes while tensions heighten on the Korean peninsula. North Korea conducted a nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February.

The U.S. has moved more troops into Asia. South Korean and American troops are conducting joint-military exercises.

North Korea calls the exercises rehearsals for invading the north.

South Korean army soldiers stand on their K-55 self-propelled howitzers during an annual exercise in Paju, near the border with North Korea, Monday, March 7, 2016.

South Korean army soldiers stand on their K-55 self-propelled howitzers during an annual exercise in Paju, near the border with North Korea, Monday, March 7, 2016.

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, has threatened to launch nuclear missiles against South Korea and the United States.

Even with American forces widely divided, the U.S. and South Korea combine to have superior conventional forces in the region, according to the website Global Power.

There are close to 28,500 American troops in South Korea. America has maintained a military presence in South Korea for more than 60 years.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Jim Dresbach adapted this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

conventional war n. the waging of war in a manner which does not use nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

conflictn. a struggle for power

tensionsn. a state in which people, groups or countries disagree with and feel anger toward each other

launchv. sending or shooting - something, such as a rocket - into the air or water

peninsulan. a piece of land that is almost entirely surrounded by water and is attached to a larger land area

rehearsalsn. events at which a person or group practice an activity

superioradj. high or higher in quality

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