New US defence strategy promises big ticket investments

Violet Powell
January 22, 2018

Mattis, unveiling the US's first new defence strategy in a decade on Friday, said the USA is facing growing threats from countries such as Russian Federation and China, calling them "revisionist powers" that "seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models".

China's USA embassy meanwhile criticised the strategy, saying Beijing sought "global partnership, not global dominance". Instead of papering over these realities, the new strategy should identify what needs to be restored and which ancillary assignments may actually be more efficiently conducted outside the military.

Positioning the US military in the post-9/11 world to focus on challenges beyond the Middle East is not a new idea.

Recall, as US allies do, that Trump in his presidential campaign disparaged alliances and promised an "America First" foreign policy. It comes as the country has embarked on a far-reaching military modernisation that Mr Colby said was in "deep contravention to our interests". Mattis said the United States must do everything it can to build a more lethal force, it must strengthen its existing alliances and build new partnerships, and it must reform the way the Pentagon manages its budget and acquires new technology.

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. It is time to stop putting the cart before the horse by constructing budgets and then diving strategies, as the budget caps have encouraged but unrealistic strategies have exacerbated.

"It is regrettable that instead of having a normal dialogue, instead of using the basis of global law, the USA is striving to prove their leadership through such confrontational strategies and concepts", he said.

The strategy, summarized in an 11-page unclassified version released Friday, is the first of its kind in a decade and outlines a vision for restoring the military's combat readiness, which Mattis said has been depleted by 16 years of continuous war and years of budget instability. But Koreans know it is risky hubris to imagine that the North can be made to surrender its strategic weapons without a broader resolution of the issues of the peninsula.

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The Washington Examiner reported that ahead of the shutdown, Defense Secretary James Mattis said it would have a "huge morale impact" on the military.

Rogue regimes like North Korea & Iran persist in taking outlaw actions that threaten regional and even global stability, he said, adding that oppressing their own people and shredding their dignity and human rights, they push their warped views outward. "When together we pool our resources and share responsibilities for the common defense, individual nations' security burdens become lighter".

Mattis, speaking during a question and answer period following a speech, said he would leave this weekend for a trip to Indonesia and Vietnam.

Beijing asserts sovereignty over nearly all of the resource-rich South China Sea despite rival claims from Southeast Asian neighbours and has rapidly built reefs into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes. Unfortunately, the panoply of threats spanning from North Korean ICBMs to ISIS demands the American military maintain a broad array of capabilities.

"In this time of change, our military is still strong, yet our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare: air, land, sea, space and cyberspace, and it is continuing to erode", the secretary said.

To effect this change, the strategy must clearly differentiate between forces and capabilities required to prevent a war versus those needed to win one.

It has been the work of a small group of largely Secretary Mattis, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the service secretaries and others in developing the new strategy.

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