Published: Mon, January 22, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Terrorism no longer the military's top priority, Mattis says

Terrorism no longer the military's top priority, Mattis says

US Defence Secretary James Mattis says competition between great powers, not terrorism, is now the main focus of America's national security.

The National Defence ministry's statement yesterday came shortly after China's Foreign Ministry vowed to take "necessary measures" to safeguard its sovereignty after a U.S. warship entered waters surrounding the Huangyan Island in the South China Sea.

"If we don't actually see where the money is, you know, there is the danger that it could become all words", said Mara Karlin, a fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank and a senior defence official in the Obama administration.

"It is regrettable that instead of having a normal dialogue, instead of using the basis of worldwide law, the U.S. is striving to prove their leadership through such confrontational strategies and concepts", he told reporters at the United Nations headquarters, in NY, on Friday.

Also known as Scarborough Shoal, the ring of reefs lies about 230 kilometres from the Philippines in the South China Sea, where Beijing's claims are hotly contested by other nations. "We will not be able to induct any more of our gear that need maintenance", said at an event at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. China's National Defence Ministry said the USA should abandon a "Cold War" mindset and view Chinese national security and military efforts "rationally and objectively". I have sat behind Secretary Rumsfeld when he came here and said you are going to have to pay more; you can't expect the Americans to keep doing this.

President Donald Trump and his administration worry that the United States military is feeling the effects of years of budget shortfalls and atrophy, and needs a full reboot.

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"It's not a war-fighting capability unless it's the worst day in our nation or world's history", Mattis said. Still, Moscow was limited by its economic resources, Colby said.

The national defence strategy provides guidance for the 2019 defence budget.

A government shutdown looks likely as Senate Democrats try and hold out for a bill protecting children brought to the US illegally - known as Dreamers - while some Republicans say they will not support a short-term spending measure.

The document also listed North Korea among the Pentagon's top priorities, citing the need to focus U.S. missile defenses against the threat from Pyongyang, which beyond its nuclear weapons has also amassed an arsenal of biological, chemical, and conventional arms.

The new strategy is "fit for our time", Mattis said.

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

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"What it is recognizing is that China and Russian Federation in particular have been assiduously working over a number of years to develop their military capabilities to challenge our military advantages", he said.

"The output of defence is winning the next war", he said.

The Defence Secretary has called for Congress to sufficiently finance the military and avoid "indiscriminate and automatic cuts" to the United States federal budget.

Under the 2018 US National Defence Strategy, the US will allocate funds for developing autonomous military technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, "including rapid application of commercial breakthroughs, to gain competitive military advantages".

"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.

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