Sunday, 27 May, 2018

North Korea standoff 'firmly in diplomatic lane': US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis

Mattis to Congress: I'm wasting my time if you don't pass budget Mattis Throws Shade at Lawmakers' Failure To Fund Military Properly
Lillian Steele | 08 February, 2018, 13:12

The Pentagon's new nuclear strategy calls for smaller weapons created to deter North Korea, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday.

The defense secretary told the committee that if a substantial budget deal cannot be reached, "my presence here today wastes your time because no strategy can survive. without the funding necessary to resource it".

"We want to show (Americans) how the military is relevant to their everyday lives; we want to show how innovative the military is and how we are a force for good", she said on the Pentagon's website.

"You can count on us".

As lawmakers clambered to strike a deal to keep the government open past Thursday, when funding is set to expire, Mattis warned another year operating under continuing resolutions would have far-reaching consequences - potentially even hampering military pay.

"I can not overstate the negative impact to our troops' and families' morale from all this budget uncertainty", Mattis said. "They do so despite Congress' abdication of its constitutional responsibility to provide sufficient, stable funding".

"I always bristle a little bit when I hear, "How can we hold defense hostage to domestic local priorities, ' as if those domestic local priorities were some kind of luxury that we just engage in for fun and enjoyment and aren't really important".

Both Mattis and House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry of Texas agreed about the importance of passing a full budget. "Ryan said in January, 'our men and women in uniform are not bargaining chips'".

Thornberry and the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington echoed Mattis' comments, encouraging their colleagues to find a way to fund the Defense Department. "That support should not be conditioned on any other issue" such as spending on domestic programs.

But when pressed by Larsen, Mattis would not say whether the Trump administration would cancel its plans for the two new submarine warheads if Russian Federation relented and retired the land-based system the Obama administration said Moscow tested in 2014 in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. "It's not the only thing important in keeping the peace".

"You are going to gut everything else [outside the Defense Department] ... and if you gut everything else you create problems", he said.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday rebuffed suggestions that the odds of war with North Korea had risen under Donald Trump's presidency, insisting the focus was resolutely on diplomacy.

"Let me be clear - as hard as the last 16 years of war have been, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of the US military than the combined impact of the Budget Control Act's defense spending caps, worsened by operating in 10 of the last 11 years under continuing resolutions of varied and unpredictable duration", Mattis said.

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