Pentagon's new defense strategy focuses on China, Russia over terrorism

Pentagon Chief Calls Russia, China 'Revisionist Powers'

Pentagon Chief Calls Russia, China 'Revisionist Powers'

The US military will focus on threats from China, Russia and the "rogue states" of Iran and North Korea, according to a strategy document released on Friday that marks a shift from the fight against extremist militants.

"We will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists, but great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of USA national security", he said.

It harkens back to the Cold War-era where the USA and Soviet Union projected power and military might around the globe.

Positioning the US military in the post-9/11 world to focus on challenges beyond the Middle East is not a new idea. Recall, as US allies do, that Trump in his presidential campaign disparaged alliances and promised an "America First" foreign policy. There is a technology race the not winning, or not leading as it used to, in many areas.

He said "everything we do must contribute to the lethality of our military" because "our competitive edge in every domain of warfare - air, land, sea, space and cyberspace - is eroding".

The strategy also noted that North Korea has "increased efforts short of armed conflict by expanding coercion to new fronts, violating principles of sovereignty, exploiting ambiguity and deliberately blurring the lines between civil and military goals".

"China is a strategic competitor", the document says, "using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea".

They are "undermining the worldwide order from within the system by exploiting its benefits while simultaneously undercutting its principles and 'rules of the road, '" it said. He also charged against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Iran, saying they represented threats to the United States. The Pentagon on Friday released an unclassified, 11-page version of the document, which did not provide details on how the shift towards countering China and Russian Federation would be carried out.

The strategy says the United States will seek to modernize key capabilities and its nuclear arsenal, and maintain dominance across all domains, including space and cyberspace.

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The version released to the public was 11 pages long and documented a range of military needs for the coming years, involving everything from nuclear weapons to cyber capabilities to war-fighting strategies.

He said it would be advisable for potential enemies to "work with our diplomats".

Elbridge A. Colby, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development, said the strategy is one that "recognizes the reality of competition".

"A strategy that is set without regard for resource constraint is a strategy that risks being inexecutable", said Todd Harrison, a defense budget expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The national defence strategy provides guidance for the 2019 defence budget.

Trump has called the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance "obsolete", but Mattis said the United States would strengthen its traditional alliances while building new partnerships and listening more to other nations' ideas.

Mattis also said the Pentagon will "modernize key capabilities, recognizing we can not expect success fighting tomorrow's conflicts with yesterday's weapons or equipment".

The new strategy can be compared in terms of scope to the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review published in February 2010 during the Obama administration.

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

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