Defense Secretary James Mattis says terrorism no longer America's 'primary focus'

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says they even outpacing the threat of terrorism.

There are more than 740,000 Defense Department civilians.

UPI noted that the new strategic approach, unveiled by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, is quite different from the one outlined in 2014 which was released prior to Russian Federation interfering with the 2016 presidential election and U.S. participation in Syria's civil war.

Defense secretary Jim Mattis' signature document emphasises China's potential to leap ahead of U.S. military power by not only rapidly developing technology but practicing "predatory economics" in the region to reclaim the Indo-Pacific.

An unclassified summary of the new National Defense Strategy also states that "North Korea's outlaw actions and reckless rhetoric continue despite United Nations censure and sanctions".

The document also listed North Korea among the Pentagon's priorities, citing the need to focus United States missile defences against the threat from Pyongyang, which beyond its nuclear weapons has also amassed an arsenal of biological, chemical, and conventional arms.

Under the Constitution, it is Congress that has the authority to raise armies and navies, Mattis said.

There is a major change in US military strategy.

Beijing is accused of seeking "Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global preeminence in the future", while Moscow "seeks veto authority over nations on its periphery", opposes North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and wants to "change European and Middle East security and economic structures to its favor".

So far, US allies have taken the message more warmly than Mattis expected, but they are also democracies grappling with their own internal politics, he said.

His comments followed Rex Tillerson's speech on Thursday, in which the secretary of state signalled an open-ended military presence in Syria as part of a broader strategy to prevent Daesh's resurgence, challenge Syrian President Bashar Assad and curtail Iran's influence.

The strategy commits the department to build a more lethal joint force.

Mattis singled out nuclear forces, emphasizing repeatedly that nuclear weaponry was a last resort and calling it a "deterrent".

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

Mattis noted that in his own combat experience, he never fought in an American-only operation, arguing that the USA must fight with strong allies.

Mattis attributed that erosion of readiness to "the longest continuous stretch of combat in our nation's history and defense spending caps, because we have been operating also for nine of the last 10 years under continuing resolutions that have created an overstretched and under-resourced military".

"Our military will be designed and trained to fight alongside allies", he said. 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.

Under the 2018 US National Defence Strategy, the US will allocate funds for developing autonomous military technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, "including rapid application of commercial breakthroughs, to gain competitive military advantages".

The US Military will also try to find other partners in regions like the Indo-Pacific to work with, according to the NDS.

"It is regrettable that instead of having a normal dialogue, instead of using the basis of global law, the U.S. is striving to prove their leadership through such confrontational strategies and concepts", he told reporters at the United Nations headquarters, in NY, on Friday.

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

The NDS blasts the "bureaucratic approach, centered on exacting thoroughness and minimizing risk above all else", and proposes to replace it with a culture of performance, results and accountability.

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