Mattis Presses for Immediate $30 Billion Extra for Defense

Defense Secretary James Mattis. AP photo
Defense Secretary James Mattis. AP photo

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called on Congress Wednesday to "look reality in the eye" and approve a $30 billion boost in military spending this year.

"Looming threats have outstripped the level of resources we have been allocating to defense," he said in prepared testimony for a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.

The additional funding for fiscal 2017, backed by President Donald Trump, "will help address the worsening security situation confronting us around the globe," Mattis said.

"We must recognize that hesitation now to invest in defense would deepen the strategic mismatch between our future security and the military means to protect our people and freedoms," he said.

The defense secretary also urged the lawmakers not to neglect the role of diplomacy in avoiding conflicts despite the president's proposal to cut the State Department budget.

"Diplomatic solutions will remain our preferred options," Mattis said. "We cannot deny the role of our military in setting the conditions for diplomatic progress."

The $30 billion would "get our aircraft back in the air, our ships back to sea, and our troops back in the field with refurbished or new equipment and proper training," he added. "This is a necessary investment to ensure our military is ready to fight today."

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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