China's and Russia's Militaries, Not Terrorism, Are the Pentagon's New Top Concern

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis speaks with a group of service members during his visit to Train Advise Assist Command East

"It is incumbent upon us to field a more lethal force if our nation is to retain the ability to defend ourselves and what we stand for to those who would threaten America's experiment in democracy", Mattis said.

Mattis said budgetary confusion has led to a failure in lethality.

Separately, the Defense Department said a shutdown would not impact the USA military's war in Afghanistan or its operations against Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria. The classified version of the strategy is five times bigger than the 11-page unclassified report released today.

The strategy advocates pursuing several options that have always been considered, including preparing United States forces to fight from smaller, dispersed bases, investing in robotic equipment that acts independently, and modernizing nuclear weapons and missile defense.

Trump spoke as the Pentagon a day before Defense Secretary James Mattis is set to unveil the administration's national defense strategy, and just weeks before DoD sends its fiscal year 2019 budget request to Capitol Hill, the Washington Examiner reported.

The U.S. and its allies, Mattis said, are stronger together.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters at United Nations headquarters in NY that militaries frequently want more resources, but "it is regrettable that instead of having normal dialogue, instead of using the basis of global law, the trying to prove their leadership through such confrontational strategies and concepts". Still, Moscow was limited by its economic resources, Colby said.

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Colby said the USA still seeks areas of cooperation with Russian Federation and China, stressing "this is not a strategy of confrontation".

But Mattis gave no indication that the military's capacity to protect the American people will be compromised: "We will continue what we are doing but the value of the military is grossly enhanced by the sense that the American model of government, of the people, by the people, for the people, can function and carry out its governmental responsibilities".

"How do we maintain a safe and effective nuclear deterrence so those weapons are never used?"

Mattis had harsh words for the U.S. Congress and its inability to reach agreement on budgets.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday that a government shutdown would impact military operations including some training, maintenance, and intelligence operations. A bill to fund the government only through February 16, approved on Thursday night by the House of Representatives, appeared on the verge of collapse in the Senate. "As hard as the last 16 years have been, no enemy has harmed the USA military more than defence spending caps and sequestration".

In sheer spending terms, the United States' military outlay per year is still far more than China and Russian Federation.

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