United States national security to focus on competition of great powers not terrorism

New Pentagon strategy takes aim at Russia, China

If Congress fails to come up with a last-minute solution, 2,000 active-duty service members will not get paid and the Pentagon will be forced to furlough most civilian employees and further delay $500 million to train and equip allied Syrian rebel forces authorized in a defense bill Trump signed in December.

The main focus of national security for the United States is now power competition and not terrorism, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said yesterday, announcing the new National Defence Strategy.

Mattis said that the United States will "continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists" such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria but noted that "great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of USA national security".

Still, this new strategy is a "hallucination" without the resources from Congress.

"North Korea seeks to guarantee regime survival and increased leverage by seeking a mixture of nuclear, biological, chemical, conventional, and unconventional weapons and a growing ballistic missile capability to gain coercive influence over South Korea, Japan, and the United States", it says. But it's consistent with language in a broader National Security Strategy released last month by the White House, which also described increasingly aggressive competition from what it called "revisionist powers", Russian Federation and China.

His sanguine comments conflicted with those of Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and some Republican lawmakers who said the shutdown is harming the U.S.'s ability to protect its citizens.

"Russia has violated the borders of nearby nations and pursues veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbours".

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Mr Trump has called the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance "obsolete", but Mr Mattis said the U.S. would strengthen its traditional alliances while building new partnerships and listening more to other nations' ideas.

The unclassified, 11-page document lays out a variety of ways the United States military can prepare to meet what it sees as these emerging threats by ramping up a strategic approach, alliance building and revamping the department's acquisition processes. The NDS lists nuclear modernization as its top priority investment, followed by space and cyberspace capabilities, surveillance and reconnaissance, missile defense and autonomous systems. "It is a nuclear deterrent, it is not a war fighting capability unless it is the worst day in our nation or the world's history", Mattis said.

The DoD will also focus on training and education, especially for any roles focusing on cyberwarfare, according to the NDS.

"We will shed outdated management practices and structures while integrating insights from business innovation", Mattis pledged.

Pentagon officials say that the need to do both - fight insurgents and prepare for a potential war among great powers - is pushing a military that is already stretched.

Mattis said the military will also be created to train and fight alongside allies to keep peace and win in war, and do their fair share to fight against threats. The comment may have been aimed at the majority of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries who do not invest the required amount of their GDP into defense.

This is the first national defense strategy in 10 years.

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China, meanwhile, holds an enormous amount of economic sway in the world and its military continues to push outward with man-made islands in the Pacific and new reports that it will build a military base in Afghanistan.

Mattis is laying out a broad new strategy for the Defense Department.

He said the department's "bureaucratic processes were insufficiently responsive to the department's needs for new equipment".

"We are going to have to be good stewards of the tax dollars allocated to us, and that means results and accountability matter", the secretary said.

This seems to be in line with the Trump administration's dedication to cut back on regulations and red tape for businesses.

Mattis added, "Let me be clear".

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