Mattis blames Congress for lack of military readiness

Mattis blames Congress for lack of military readiness”

Their deaths came just days after a U.S. Army special forces soldier was also killed in the region.

Qatar's Al-Udeid Air Base is the largest American air base in the Middle East, serving as the forward operational headquarters of U.S. Central Command and the host to about 10,000 American troops.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis testifies on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

In the last ten years, Congress has passed 30 separate stopgap budget measures, he said. "It's about authorities. It's about other things we can do diplomatically and economically as well", Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, the top USA general, told lawmakers Monday. He's appearing before the committee with Mattis.

Congress is considering slapping Russian Federation with more sanctions in retaliation for Moscow's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of USA forces in Afghanistan, told lawmakers in February that he needed a surge of a "few thousand" troops to break an impasse in the US -led mission.

Pointing to Obama-era budget caps known as sequestration, Mr Mattis said limits on military spending have left troops at greater risk and blocked important new programmes - even though the defence budget is already greater than that of the next seven countries combined.

The defense secretary's remarks Tuesday to the Senate Armed Services Committee followed criticism from the panel's chairman, Sen.

A fourth force, the pace of technological change, influences the capabilities needed for the future, the secretary told the senators, necessitating new investments, innovation and new program starts. Congress and the Department (of Defense) could not anticipate the accumulated wear and tear of years of continuous combat use, ' he said.

Mattis says the department "currently has more infrastructure capacity than required for operations".

USA senators said on Monday they were close to an agreement on legislation imposing new sanctions on Russian Federation, including a possible provision that would prevent the White House from easing sanctions without congressional approval. But lawmakers have refused to go along, questioning the data and the analysis the Pentagon used to make its argument for fewer facilities.

But military installations are prized possessions in congressional districts.

Giving more authority to the Pentagon allows military leaders more latitude in planning and conducting operations.

"The competitive advantage that the United States military has long enjoyed is eroding", Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing on the Trump administration's defense budget, saying that budget cuts combined with increasingly capable adversaries were both contributing to that erosion.

Lawmakers have been considering slapping Russian Federation with more sanctions in retaliation for Moscow's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

"Every time they fire one of these, they're learning something more so it's a worsening situation", Mattis said.

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