US hikes military spending to counter Russia, China

Washington: US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter today announced a major boost in military spending to counter future threats and increase presence in eastern Europe and Asia Pacific to deter America’s “most advanced competitors” Russia and China, while also stepping up the war against ISIS.

Preparing ground work for the proposed USD 582.7 billion defence budget for the year, which would be submitted to the US Congress by President Barack Obama a week from now, Carter said this budget takes a long term view.

“We have to, because even as we fight today’s fights, we must also be prepared for the fights that might come, 10, 20 or 30 years down the road,” he said in his address to the Economic Club of Washington.

In his speech, Carter identified, Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and non-state actors represented by terrorist groups in particular the ISIS as five major threats to the US.

“Here, our approach is being able to deter our most advanced competitors. We must have and you seem to have the ability to impose unacceptable costs on an advanced aggressor that will either dissuade them from taking provocative action or make them deeply regret it if they do,” he said.

“To be clear, the US military will fight very differently in coming years than we have in Iraq and Afghanistan or in the rest of the world’s recent memory,” he said, adding that the Pentagon will be prepared for a high-end enemy.

“That’s what we call full spectrum. In our budget, our plans, our capabilities and our actions, we must demonstrate to potential foes, that if they start a war, we have the capability to win. Because the force that can deter conflict, must show that it can dominate a conflict,” he said.

Describing Russia and China as America’s “most stressing competitors”, Carter said they have developed and are continuing to advance military system that seek to threaten US advantages in specific areas.

“And in some case, they are developing weapons and ways of wars that seek to achieve their objectives rapidly, before they hope, we can respond,” he noted.

“Because of this and because of their actions to date, from Ukraine to the South China Sea, DoD (Department of Defence) has elevated their importance in our defence planning and budgeting. While we do not desire conflict of any kind with either of these nations – and let me be clear,” he said.

The US military is working to defeat ISIS, he asserted. The US is reinforcing its posture in Europe to support our NATO allies in the face of Russia’s aggression.

“In Pentagon parlance, this is called the European Reassurance Initiative and after requesting about USD 800 million for last year, this year we’re more than quadrupling it for a total of USD 3.4 billion in 2017,” he said.

When combined with US forces already in and assigned to Europe all of this together by the end of 2017 will let them rapidly form a highly capable combined arms ground force that can respond across that theater, if necessary, he said.

“We’re also investing more in cyber, totaling nearly USD 7 billion in 2017. And almost USD 35 billion over the next five years,” he said.

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