Mattis blames Congress for poor state of US combat readiness

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sets his briefcase down before he testifies at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the defense budget for the 2018 budget year on Capitol Hill Monday

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sets his briefcase down before he testifies at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the defense budget for the 2018 budget year on Capitol Hill Monday

He added that the Trump administration is working on a comprehensive cyber defense strategy, but in the meantime the US has enough understanding of Russia's cyber actions to defend against them.

Mattis, a Trump appointee, placed the blame on Congress for what he considers to be an unprepared American fighting force, observing that short-term budget measures and a current law that limits military spending are placing U.S. troops at risk. "So all I can tell you is that unless we get a strategy from you, you're going to get a strategy from us".

"It makes it hard to support you when we don't have a strategy", McCain said at a committee hearing discussing the Pentagon's 2018 budget request.

This sets the stage for USA commanders to begin sending more forces to Afghanistan, after years of reductions made in the hope that Kabul could handle internal threats on its own. "We have only sustained our ability to meet America's commitments overseas because our troops have stoically shouldered a much greater burden". "But we recognise the need for urgency and your criticism is fair", he said.

He earlier told lawmakers: "We are not winning in Afghanistan right now. And we will correct this as soon as possible", he said, including that the Defense Department will brief Congress by mid-July on the updated strategy in detail.

US Defence Secretary James Mattis told a congressional panel late on Monday that the Trump administration's Afghan policy would also look at impact of the rivalry between Pakistan and India on the situation in Afghanistan.

He laid out four forces wearing down military advantage, starting off with 16 years of war that has exhausted equipment, and finances.

Mattis is asking Congress for three things: to increase the budget caps so the full $52 billion increase can be approved; to pass a real budget for the fiscal year instead of resorting to stopgap funding measures; and to remove sequestration by repealing or revising the 2011 Budget Control Act.

Senator John McCain, the chairman of the Senate committee, pressed Mr Mattis on the deteriorating situation, saying the United States had an urgent need for "a change in strategy, and an increase in resources if we are to turn the situation around".

Mattis, under questioning from Sen.

Congress has "sidelined itself from its active constitutional oversight role", Mattis said.

"We just lost three courageous Americans", said Sen. I do not see any indication that Mr. Putin would want a positive relationship with us.

A new strategy for Afghanistan will soon be released.

"The Taliban had a good year last year and they're trying to have a good one this year", Mattis said, adding that it appears the Taliban is now "surging".

The Taliban "had a good year last year", Mattis said.

After the third airstrike, General Sergey Surovikin of the Russian ground forces accused the U.S. coalition of "colluding" with IS by interfering with the Syrian military's efforts to fight against the terrorists.

Afghan security personnel arrive at the site of a motorcycle bomb explosion in front of the Jami Mosque in Herat on June 6, 2017. It is unclear, however, how long it could take for Afghan forces to mature enough to match the type of support offered by USA forces. This is 11 percent less than the military held around the same time in 2016.

The U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies invaded Afghanistan in late 2001 to oust the Taliban, which had sheltered the Al Qaeda perpetrators of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

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