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Secretary Mattis told the Senate four external forces are acting on today’s military — What are they?

16 years of conflict, sequestration and evolving strategic landscape present challenges.

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On June 13, 2017, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding the Department of Defense 2018 budget request.

Besides describing his shock at the devastating effects of sequestration on readiness, Secretary Mattis framed the DoD’s strategic challenges in the context of four external forces which we summarize below.

  1.  An era of enduring conflict.  When we switched to an all-volunteer force in 1973, nobody anticipated 16 years of continuous combat deployments abroad with repeat unaccompanied tours that have severely impacted troops and their families.
  2. The global situation.  Russia is rearming, China seeks to increase it’s strategic reach, Iran foments conflict throughout the Middle East, and North Korea continues to pursue greater nuclear capability.
  3. Adversaries are contesting the U.S. in domains in which we previously enjoyed dominance.  “Today every operating domain — outer space, air, sea, undersea, land and cyberspace — is contested.”
  4. The pace of technological change has increased, and maintaining the pace of technological innovation requires stable budgets and greater funding.

For additional information on the Secretary’s testimony see DoD News.

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