Russia, China ‘growing threats’, must be ready for war: Jim Mattis
Washington: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday that America is facing “growing threats” from China and Russia, and warned that the US military’s advantages have eroded in recent years.
Mattis’s assessment came as he unveiled the Pentagon’s vision for the future detailed in a document called the national defense strategy.
“We face growing threats from revisionist powers as different as China and Russia, nations that seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models,” Mattis said.
“Our military is still strong, yet our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare — air, land, sea, space and cyberspace — and is continually eroding,” he added.
President Donald Trump and his administration worry that the vast US military force is feeling the effects of years of budget shortfalls and atrophy, and needs a full reboot to restore it to an idealized strength.
Part wish list, part blueprint for the coming years, the Pentagon’s national defense strategy seeks to increase the size of the military, improve its readiness and work with allies — all while operating across multiple theaters including in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
“This strategy establishes my intent to pursue urgent change at significant scale,” Mattis wrote in the introduction to the strategy.
“We must use creative approaches, make sustained investment and be disciplined in execution to field a Joint Force fit for our time, one that competes, deters and wins in this increasingly complex security environment.”
Elbridge Colby, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development, told reporters that Mattis’s strategy seeks to deal with the “erosion” of America’s military advantage.
“What it is recognizing is that China and Russia in particular have been assiduously working over a number of years to develop their military capabilities to challenge our military advantages,” he said.