A series of Navy and Air Force accidents this year — reflecting strains on the armed forces from the nearly two-decade fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere — is raising pressing questions about whether the Pentagon can handle current conflicts and is ready for the next major confrontation. The United States is by far the world's most formidable military power, but some defense experts say the country needs more troops, planes and ships to confront the growing array of challenges posed by China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. Others say that warnings of a readiness crisis are overblown but that the Pentagon needs to be smarter with the resources it has. Most analysts agree the military must improve training for conventional warfare while modernizing ...

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