But SASC chairman Sen.
Joseph Dunford and the Pentagon’s new comptroller, David Norquist – appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal 2018 defense budget. The administration has also requested about $29 billion for Energy Department defense and nuclear programs.
“Let’s not ask these families to sacrifice any further without a strategy”, McCain said.
Another priority for the new strategy would be to reduce Afghan casualties by “more effectively assisting” Afghan ground forces through increasing USA fire and air support, Dunford said. In the last ten years, Congress has passed 30 separate stopgap budget measures, he said.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis blamed the inability of Congress to deliver an annual defense budget for what he called a shockingly poor state of combat readiness as the United States faces fierce rivals, including an “urgent and unsafe threat” from North Korea. “We are scrambling to put it together”. “We recognize the need for urgency, and your criticism is fair”.
Media reports have said Mattis is considering asking for 3,000 to 5,000 additional U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops, but the defence chief has said little on the matter.
A US senior defence official said that the decision concerning troop levels in Syria and Iraq was communicated via an internal policy memo on April 20.
Former US President Barack Obama had planned to reduce the current number of 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan to some 5,500 by the end of 2015 and withdraw all troops by the end of 2016 when his presidency came to an end. “And we will correct this as soon as possible”. “All I can tell you is that unless we get a strategy from you, you’re going to get a strategy from us“.
“I hope you understand that I am not criticizing you, but there are problems within this administration”, McCain said.
US Secretary of Defence James Mattis delivers an opening statement on the first day of the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC) at the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, southern Germany, on 17 February 2017.
But, the senator added, “Congress owes the America people a strategy which will then lead to success in Afghanistan”. “It’s yours”, McCain said. We still haven’t got a strategy for Afghanistan. That could allow American advisers to work with Afghan troops below the corps level, potentially putting them closer to fighting, a U.S. official said.
Mattis scolded lawmakers on Capitol Hill for failing to pass military budgets and for imposing automatic spending cuts known as sequestration that have caused “severe” damage.
Mattis, known as Mad Dog from his time as a Marine General, said: ‘I retired from military service three months after sequestration took effect. “I don’t think that’s a helluva lot to ask”. But he rejected as “wild fantasy” a media report that the Pentagon might propose sending up to 50,000 additional troops.
“This assures the department can facilitate our missions and nimbly align our commitment to the situation on the ground”, he said of the new authority.
‘We have spent six years just getting by, asking more and more of those who serve, and putting off the choices that have to be made. “If we left the BCA levels, at least you could prioritize”, he said. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) offensive on Raqqa began last Monday, and the fighting is inside the city now.