USA defense chief says North Korea threatens global stability with weapons programs

Lawrence Kim
January 22, 2018

The school is a division of the Johns Hopkins University based in Washington.

The 11-page unclassified version released to reporters on Thursday lays out the world's threats as the Trump administration sees them. Unfortunately, the panoply of threats spanning from North Korean ICBMs to ISIS demands the American military maintain a broad array of capabilities. It's not just about protecting geography.

To effect this change, the strategy must clearly differentiate between forces and capabilities required to prevent a war versus those needed to win one. There is increasing global volatility and uncertainty with challenges from Russian Federation and China coming to the fore.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday that a government shutdown would impact military operations including some training, maintenance, and intelligence operations.

"While this strategy will require sustained investment by the American people, we recall past generations who made harsher sacrifices so that we might enjoy our way of life today", Mattis writes at the conclusion of the document.

"Rogue regimes like North Korea and Iran persist in taking outlaw actions that threaten regional and even global stability". "Air, land, sea, space and cyberspace, and it is continuing to erode".

Throughout his speech, Mattis constantly maintained that the USA must first use diplomacy to end potential conflicts, and that a strong military was the best way to give strength to the State Department's credibility.

Mattis also said the Pentagon will "modernize key capabilities, recognizing we can not expect success fighting tomorrow's conflicts with yesterday's weapons or equipment". In addition to more stable funding, Congress needs to act to overhaul Pentagon acquisition and innovation, he said.

Derek Chollet, former senior Pentagon official in the Obama administration and now with the German Marshall Fund in Washington, said much of the strategy is "old wine in a new bottle, but in this context, that's a good thing". They said in a joint statement they opposed the House continuing resolution, which "punts budget discussions until mid-February".

An enemy will attack any perceived weakness, Mattis said.

Senator Tim Kaine
Senator Tim Kaine

China's military buildup for the last 25 years is specifically created to undercut the American ability to guarantee regional security.

"This is very much like during the cold war time, when every military platform that the USA or Soviet Union procured had a direct implication against the other's capabilities, so [the US] is not so much about having a peacetime military any more but one that is to win a war against the Chinese and Russians". Work with our diplomats: "You don't want to fight the Department of Defense".

"If some people look at the world through a cold war, zero-sum game mindset, then they are destined to see only conflict and confrontation", an embassy spokesman said.

The American military must be designed, trained and ready to fight alongside allies, he added. But it also stressed a need for burden-sharing, an apparent nod to Mr Trump's public criticism of allies who he says unfairly take advantage of United States security guarantees. "Working by, with and through allies who carry their equitable share allows us to amass the greatest possible strength".

The third line of effort is to reform the department's business practices "to provide both solvency and security, thereby gaining the full benefit of every dollar spent".

Associate Professor Li Mingjiang from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies told The Sunday Times that the latest NDS shows the United States has adopted a new posture towards China that might result in tougher policies in areas where the two sides disagree.

It is regrettable that instead of having a normal dialogue, instead of using the basis of worldwide law, the USA is striving to prove their leadership through such confrontational strategies and concepts. It will clearly reflect Secretary Mattis's approach which is more like that of Sun Tzu than Claustewitz.

A number of high-profile incidents in the last year have shone a light on what almost 20 years of continued combat operations and a dwindling budget has done to military assets employed in combat and show of force operations around the globe.

"That we have performed well is a credit to our wonderful and loyal troops, but loyalty must be a two-way street", 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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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