If you were asked what are the greatest threats to our military, you might say ISIS and other terrorist groups.
Or, you might point to North Korea and its nuclear weapons program combined with a seriously unstable leader in Kim Jong-Un.
Then again, you could express a growing concern over a possible conflict with nuclear-armed Russia or China, which is becoming an increasingly big problem.
Yet as concerning as all those are, perhaps we need to look inward for the greatest threat to our armed forces.
Secretary of State Mattis has been testifying before various congressional committees, and points the finger directly at Congress as the single biggest threat to our military.
Specifically, the formal general claims that insufficient funding has done much to derail the preparedness of our military to respond to conflicts. And that presents unacceptable risks to our armed forces.
“In his prepared testimony given to three different committees, Mattis declared that Congress caused more ‘harm’ to our troops than their enemies on the battlefield through inadequate funding and approval of budgets.
‘I returned to the Department, and I have been shocked by what I’ve seen about our readiness to fight,’ Mattis said.
‘While nothing can compare to the heartache caused by the loss of our troops during these wars, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the combat readiness of our military than sequestration.’
‘And yet, for four years our military has been subject to or threatened by automatic, across-the-board cuts as a result of sequester — a mechanism meant to be so injurious to the military it would never go into effect.
In addition, during nine of the past 10 years, Congress has enacted 30 separate Continuing Resolutions to fund the Department of Defense, thus inhibiting our readiness and adaptation to new challenges.‘”
Mattis goes further in hanging Congress out to dry for the damage it has done to our military readiness.
He says that Congress often failed to pass a budget on time or “eliminate the threat of sequestration,” and also “blocked new programs, prevented service growth, stalled industry initiative and placed troops at greater risk.”
Congress has been put on notice.
Should we face the tragedy of failed or marginally successful engagements, it won’t take long for the responsibility to be traced right back to Congress.
And if we know one thing, our elected representatives absolutely abhor being held responsible for their mistakes. They will do most anything to avoid taking responsibility.
Even going to the point of passing legislation that actually solves problems.