Mattis: no enemy has done more to harm US military than sequestration

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has called North Korean regime's weapons program a'clear and present danger to allMore

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has called North Korean regime's weapons program a'clear and present danger to allMore

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Pentagon chief Jim Mattis told lawmakers on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) he was "shocked" by the state of the USA military's readiness, blaming legal budget caps and the grind of 16 years of constant war.

McCain said the Defense Department's budget request can not be fulfilled without an updated strategy in Afghanistan, and in conflicts around the world more broadly.

"It's a fundamental change to how we bring our, what I would call our real superiority, in terms of air support", Mattis said.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford stuck by his previous ranking of Russia as the greatest threat, listing the five key challenges as Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and violent extremist organizations.

Mattis's comments followed McCain's criticism for the administration's lack of strategy in the ongoing 16-year war. Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top USA commander in Afghanistan, has told Congress that he could use an infusion of US and allied troops to bolster support for the Afghan army.

Committee Chairman Congressman Mac Thornberry and other Republicans say the increase is insufficient to strengthen the USA military. The problems that originate there do not stay there.

They said this will be separate from the request to increase the number of advisers for training and assistance and the U.S. would expect to increase the frequency of airstrikes launched.

Last week, South Korea's top national security adviser said Seoul did not aim to change its agreement on the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system to protect against North Korea, despite a decision to delay its full installation.

President Donald Trump has granted the Pentagon authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, a U.S. official said Tuesday, a move that could lead to the deployment of thousands more soldiers.

Dunford, when asked about the state of the war in Afghanistan by Sen.

"We can't keep going like this".

McCain mentioned the "three courageous Americans" who were killed in Afghanistan on Saturday, when an Afghan soldier gunned them down. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), said: "I don't assess we're in better shape than we were a year ago".

Lawmakers repeatedly asked Mattis for an update on Afghanistan, and about whether Trump will deploy thousands more troops to help Afghan partners reverse a stalemate against the resurgent Taliban.

The Afghan government was assessed by the US military to control or influence just 59.7 percent of Afghanistan's 407 districts as of February 20, a almost 11 percentage-point decrease from the same time in 2016, according to data released by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

"In the past, by failing to pass a budget on time or eliminate the threat of sequestration, Congress sidelined itself from its active constitutional oversight role", said Mattis. To date, more than 2,300 Americans have been killed and over 17,000 wounded since the war began in 2001. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation nations such as Britain also have lost troops during the conflict. Since the war in Afghanistan started in 2001, more than 2,300 US troops have been killed and more than 17,000 wounded. Still, the Trump administration insists on "rebuilding" the USA armed forces. "America's long war has placed a heavy burden on men and women in uniform and their families", he said. The upcoming strategy would include a regional approach with more contributions from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, Mattis said.

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