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Global Challenges and U.S. National Security Strategy: Fallon and Mattis

Global Challenges and U.S. National Security Strategy: Fallon and Mattis

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Key Quotes from the Testimony before Senate Armed Services Committee, 27 January 2015

 FallonatIranEventAdmiral William J. Fallon U.S. Navy (Retired), former Commander of U.S. Pacific Command and former Commander of U.S. Central Command, and ASP Board Member.

 

 

Mattis_Centcom_2010General James N. Mattis USMC (Retired), former Commander of U.S. Central Command

 

 

 

 

…strategic coherence in foreign policy and national security would benefit from strong, credible and consistent domestic policies and actions to return this great nation to the position of exemplary leadership it earned and enjoyed not that long ago.   Building on this position of domestic strength, a thoughtful, focused and collaborative strategy formulation process to agree on a relatively few high priority national security goals and objectives should set us on a fair course.

Admiral William J. Fallon U.S. Navy (Ret.)

The international order, so painstakingly put together by the greatest generation coming home from mankind’s bloodiest conflict, is under increasing stress. It was created with elements we take for granted: the United Nations, NATO, the Marshall Plan, Bretton Woods and more. The constructed order reflected the wisdom of those who recognized no nation lived as an island and we needed new ways to deal with challenges that for better or worse impacted all nations. Like it or not, today we are part of this larger world and must carry out our part. We cannot wait for problems to arrive here or it will be too late; rather we must remain strongly engaged in this complex world.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

Need for a Long Term Strategy

I believe that a coherent national security strategy requires a long term focus with well thought out objectives. We should resist reactive responses and attempts to find near term fixes for pop up issues which arise continuously and compete for attention with what we should determine are higher priority interests.

Admiral William J. Fallon U.S. Navy (Ret.)

America needs a refreshed national strategy. The Congress can play a key role in crafting a coherent strategy with bi‐partisan support. Doing so requires us to look beyond events currently consuming the executive branch. There is an urgent need to stop reacting to each immediate vexing issue in isolation. Such response often creates unanticipated second order effects and more problems for us.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

At the international level, active engagement using all aspects of national power underpinned with a strong forward presence by U.S. military forces, with credible capabilities, is our best deterrent and response to security threats.

Admiral William J. Fallon U.S. Navy (Ret.)

The intelligence community should delineate and provide an initial prioritization of those threats for … consideration. By rigorously defining the problems we face you will enable a more intelligent and focused use of the resources allocated for national defense.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

Our Aim in a National Security Strategy

I would suggest that we focus on where we, as a nation, want to be in the future. My vote would be for improving world security and stability with more people around the world enjoying a better life in conditions of their choosing, with responsible elected leaders providing good governance and respect for human dignity.

Admiral William J. Fallon U.S. Navy (Ret.)

Strategy connects ends, ways and means. With less military available, we must reduce our appetite for using it. ….Prioritization is needed if we are to remain capable of the most critical mission for which we have a military: to fight on short notice and defend the country. In this regard we must recognize we should not and need not carry this military burden solely on our own.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

Our national security strategy needs … bi‐ partisan direction .….This is an urgent matter, because in an interconnected age when opportunistic adversaries can work in tandem to destroy stability and prosperity, our country needs to regain its strategic footing. We need to bring clarity to our efforts before we lose the confidence of the American people and the support of our potential allies.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

U.S. Leadership

The United States government has provided, and must continue to provide; leadership, good example and active political, economic and military security assistance in working toward these desired objectives.

Admiral William J. Fallon U.S. Navy (Ret.)

The need for stronger alliances comes more sharply into focus as we shrink the military. No nation can do on its own all that is necessary for its security. Further, history reminds us that countries with allies generally defeat those without. A capable U.S. military, reinforcing our political will to lead from the front, is the bedrock on which we draw together those nations that stand with us against threats to the international order. Our strategy must adapt to and accommodate this reality. …. We must also enlist non‐traditional partners where we have common foes or common interests.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

A Strong America

The fundamental prerequisite for any successful national security strategy is a sound and strong domestic foundation. Our credibility in the world is based on the example of our actions and how people perceive we might act in current and future situations. It is fair to wonder if people in other parts of the world take us seriously when they observe partisan political bickering preclude agreement on fundamental issues like national operating budgets or cyber policies, and seemingly ever changing policies and priorities.

Admiral William J. Fallon U.S. Navy (Ret.)

As President Eisenhower noted, the foundation of military strength is our economic strength. In a few short years paying interest on our debt will be a bigger bill than what we pay for defense. Much of that interest money is destined to leave America for overseas. If we refuse to reduce our debt/pay down our deficit, what is the impact on national security for future generations who will inherit this irresponsible debt and the taxes to service it? No nation in history has maintained its military power if it failed to keep its fiscal house in order.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

Nuclear Security

As we contemplate myriad challenges to world stability and U.S. security, we should first acknowledge, distasteful as it might be, the reality that nuclear weapons, and aspirations for them, continue to proliferate. In this regard, it is discouraging to note that after more than two decades of nuclear counter proliferation progress, fueled in large measure by the Nunn-Lugar initiative, Russian-U.S. cooperation appears to have ground to a halt in the wake of dangerous Russian bad behavior.

Admiral William J. Fallon U.S. Navy (Ret.)

The nuclear stockpile must be tended to and fundamental questions must be asked and answered:
‐We must clearly establish the role of our nuclear weapons: do they serve solely to deter nuclear war? If so we should say so, and the resulting clarity will help to determine the number we need.

‐Is it time to reduce the Triad to a Diad, removing the land‐based missiles? This would reduce the false alarm danger.
‐Could we re‐energize the arms control effort by only counting warheads vice launchers?

‐Was the Russian test violating the INF treaty simply a blunder or a change in policy, and what is our appropriate response?

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

U.S. strategy for dealing with the potential use of these weapons of mass destruction has been our heretofore successful National Strategic Deterrent Force. But the critical components of this force have been aging without significant upgrade. Modernization of the force, particularly the survivability of the sea based deterrent, should be a top priority consideration for us to remain credible in deterring worst case scenarios.

Admiral William J. Fallon U.S. Navy (Ret.)

China

In my view, one of our most important strategic interests, with huge implications for national security and the stability of the vast Asia-Pacific region, is our long term relationship with China. Mutually beneficial in many respects, it has other dimensions, notably in the areas of cyber security, military expansion and regional disputes with neighboring countries, which are a cause for concern and need to be addressed.

Admiral William J. Fallon U.S. Navy (Ret.)

 While our efforts in the Pacific to keep positive relations with China are well and good, these efforts must be paralleled by a policy to build the counterbalance if China continues to expand its bullying role in the South China Sea and elsewhere. That counterbalance must deny China veto power over territorial, security and economic conditions in the Pacific, building support for our diplomatic efforts to maintain stability and economic prosperity so critical to our economy.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

Middle East

…we should continue to engage in the region, using all aspects of national power, but with the understanding that we are not likely to be successful by mandating U.S. solutions. People in the region are sooner or later going to have to step up and address the issues which torment and divide them. We can and should assist but we are not going to resolve their problems.

Admiral William J. Fallon U.S. Navy (Ret.)

In the Middle East where our influence is at its lowest point in four decades we see a region erupting in crises. We need a new security architecture for the Mid‐East built on sound policy, one that permits us to take our own side in this fight.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

Iran

Iran is a special case that must be dealt with as a threat to regional stability, nuclear and otherwise. I believe that you should question the value of Congress adding new sanctions while international negotiations are ongoing, vice having them ready should the negotiations for preventing their nuclear weapons capability and stringent monitoring break down. Further question now if we have the right policies in place when Iran creates more mischief in Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region, recognizing that regional counterweights like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council can reinforce us if they understand our policies, clarify our foreign policy goals beyond Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

Countering and Defeating the Daesh

Some recommendations for addressing the current challenge from the so called Daesh in Iraq and Syria include;

(1) Recognition that success in Iraq will rest on the ability of the new government of Haider al Abadi to convince the majority of his countrymen, particularly the Sunni minority, that they will get a fair shake going forward. Absent this political foundation, nothing we do will be effective in the long term.

(2) Getting Islamic leaders, the elites of the Arab countries, to actively counter the extremist ideology and cut funding to Daesh and other extremists. In a positive note here, I would highlight recent remarks by Egyptian leader Abdel al Sisi.

(3) Continue U.S. military efforts to work closely with the Iraqi military to enhance capabilities, increase combat effectiveness and support them with training, airpower and SOF as required to defeat Daesh and reclaim areas overrun last summer. Simultaneously pressing Daesh rear areas in Syria to degrade and deny their ability to expand or sustain operations in Iraq.

No single one of these actions will defeat the threat. All need to occur.

Admiral William J. Fallon U.S. Navy (Ret.)

Violent terrorists cannot be permitted to take refuge behind false religious garb and leave us unwilling to define this threat with the clarity it deserves.

We have potential allies around the world and in the Middle East who will rally to us but we have not been clear about where we stand in defining or dealing with the growing violent jihadist terrorist threat.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

U.S. Forces

When we make clear our position or give our word about something, our friends (and even our foes) must recognize that we are good for it. Otherwise dangerous miscalculations can occur. This means that the military instrument must be fit for purpose and that once a political position is taken, our position is backed up by a capable military making clear that we will stand on our word.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

Knowing that enemies always move against perceived weakness, our forces must be capable of missions from nuclear deterrence to counter‐insurgency and everything in between, now including the pervasive cyber domain. While surprise is always a factor, this committee can ensure that we have the fewest big regrets when the next surprise occurs. We don’t want or need a military that is at the same time dominant and irrelevant, so you must sort this out and deny funding for bases or capabilities no longer needed.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

With a smaller military comes the need for troops kept at the top of their game. When we next put them in harm’s way it must be the enemy’s longest day and worst day. Tiered readiness with a smaller force must be closely scrutinized to ensure we aren’t merely hollowing out the force. While sequestration is the nearest threat to this national treasure that is the U.S. military, sustaining it as the world’s best when smaller will need … critical oversight

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

Key Questions for Our National Security Strategy

– When the decision is made to employ our forces in combat, the committee should ask if the military is being employed with the proper authority. I believe you should examine answers to fundamental questions like the following:

‐Are the political objectives clearly defined and achievable? Murky or quixotic political end states can condemn us to entering wars we don’t know how to end. Notifying the enemy in advance of our withdrawal dates or reassuring the enemy that we will not use certain capabilities like our ground forces should be avoided. Such announcements do not take the place of mature, well‐defined end‐states, nor do they contribute to ending wars as rapidly as possible on favorable terms.

‐Is the theater of war itself sufficient for effective prosecution? We have witnessed safe havens prolonging war. If the defined theater of war is insufficient, the plan itself needs to be challenged to determine feasibility of its success or the need for its modification.

‐Is the authority for detaining prisoners of war (POs) appropriate for the enemy and type war that we are fighting? We have observed the perplexing lack of detainee policy that has resulted in the return of released prisoners to the battlefield. We should not engage in another fight without resolving this issue up front, treating hostile forces, in fact, as hostile.

‐Are America’s diplomatic, economic and other assets aligned to the war aims, with the intent of ending the conflict as rapidly as possible? We have experienced the military alone trying achieve tasks outside its expertise. When we take the serious decision to fight, we must bring to bear all our nation’s resources. You should question how the diplomatic and development efforts will be employed to build momentum for victory and our nation’s strategy needs that integration.

– Finally the culture of our military and its rules are designed to bring about battlefield success in the most atavistic environment on earth. No matter how laudable in terms of a progressive country’s instincts, this committee needs to consider carefully any proposed changes to military rules, traditions and standards that bring non‐combat emphasis to combat units. There is a great difference between military service in dangerous circumstances and serving in a combat unit whose role is to search out and kill the enemy at close quarters. This committee has a responsibility for imposing reason over impulse when proposed changes could reduce the combat capability of our forces at the point of contact with the enemy.

General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)

 

 

What the full hearing from the Senate Armed Services Committee

 

 

 

 

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