Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday that America is facing "growing threats" from China and Russia, and warned that the US military's advantages have eroded in recent years. Mattis' assessment came as he unveiled the Pentagon's vision for the future detailed in a document called the national defence strategy.
"We face growing threats from revisionist powers as different as China and Russia, nations that seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models," Mattis said. "Our military is still strong, yet our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare - air, land, sea, space and cyberspace - and is continually eroding," he added.
Mattis said the United States must be ready to fight a war. "The surest way to prevent war is to be prepared to win one," he said.
President Donald Trump and his administration worry that the vast US military force is feeling the effects of years of budget shortfalls and atrophy, and needs a full reboot to restore it to an idealised strength. Part wish list, part blueprint for the coming years, the Pentagon's national defence strategy seeks to increase the size of the military, improve its readiness and work with allies - all while operating across multiple theaters including in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. "This strategy establishes my intent to pursue urgent change at significant scale," Mattis wrote in the introduction to the strategy.