Senati amerikan miratoi dje një amendament, që i lejon Gjeneralit James Mattis të bëhet Sekretar i Mbrojtjes, pas konfirmimit të tij.
Sipas ligjit amerikan, ushtarakëve u ndalohet të bëhen Sekretarë të Mbrojtes, në se kanë më pak se 7 vjet që kanë dalë në pension. Keshtu Gjenerali pritet të bëhet i pari ushtarak karriere që udhëheq Pentagonin që prej viteve ’50. Në përgjigje të pyetjeve te shumta gjatë seancës për konfirmimin e tij para Komisionit të Senatit për Shërbimet e Armatosura, Zoti James Mattis deklaroi se, baraspesha globale e fuqisë e krijuar pas Luftës së Dytë Botërore, po kërcënohet më shumë se kurrë. “Mendoj se kjo balancë është nën sulmin më të madh që nga Lufta e Dytë Botërore, dhe kjo vjen nga Rusia, nga grupet terroriste dhe nga veprimet e Kinës në Detin e Kinës Jugore”. Ai besonte qe presidenti rus Vladimir Putin, po përpiqej të “shpërbënte” Aleancën Atlantiko-Veriore NATO, e cila ka shërbyer si gardiane e sigurisë amerikane dhe europiane prej më shumë se gjysmëshekulli. Mattis e portretizoi Rusinë si një kundërshtar strategjik. Një nga pyetjet që i drejtuan ligjvënësit ishte se, si do të sillej ai me Rusinë, bazuar tek veprimet e saj, si ndërhyrjet në Europën Lindore dhe sulmet kibernetike ne SHBA, për të cilat akuzohet Moska, Mattis theksoi se luftëra të tilla shpesh nisin nga përllogaritjet e gabuara. Ai tha se, Shtetet e Bashkuara duhet të vendosin kufij të qartë, në mënyrë që kundërshtarët ta dinë se, çfarë nuk mund të tolerohet nga SHBA, ndaj parandalimi është me rëndësi kritike për momentin”. I pyetur nga senatori John McCain, nëse ushtria e Shteteve të Bashkuara ishte totalisht e gatshme për t’u përballur me këto sfida, Mattis u përgjigj: Forcat e Armatosura amerikane aktualisht nuk janë të pergatitura sa duhet për të përballuar te gjitha sfidat globale. Gjithashtu Gjenerali theksoi se, Shtetet e Bashkuara janë përpjekur shumë herë t’i përmirësojnë marrëdhëniet me Rusinë dhe pak herë kanë patur sukses. Gjenerali Mattis tha se, është e rëndësishme të njihet realiteti dhe mënyra e sjelljes me zotin Putin. “Ne e dimë tha ai, se presidenti rus po përpiqet ta dëmtojë NATO-n, ai është duke u përpjekur ta shpërbëjë Aleancën Atlantiko-Veriore”, prandaj duhet të marrim masa të integruara diplomatike, ekonomike, ushtarake dhe të punojmë bashke me aleatët tanë për t’u vetëmbrotjur në ato raste kur është e nevojshme. IshGjenerali me 4 yje u shpreh se, historia e marrëdhënieve SHBA-Rusi ka mangësi përpjekjesh të suksesshme për bashkëpunim afatgjate, diçka për të cilën presidenti i zgjedhur Donald Trump është angazhuar ta vazhdojë. Zoti Trump mbetet i hapur persa i përket pikëpamjeve të tij për Rusinë, teksa i kishte kërkuar atij personalisht mendim mbi marrëdhëniet amerikano-ruse.
Nderkohe Mattis deklaroi se, mbështeste totalisht lëvizjet e administratës “Obama” për të siguruar aleatët europianë pas aneksimit nga Moska të gadishullit ukrainas të Krimesë, por edhe aktiviteteve ushtarake në lindje të Ukrainës. E ndërsa Shtetet e Bashkuara duhet të mbeten të gatshme për të punuar me Rusinë, Mattis tha se perspektiva e bashkëpunimit sa vjen e ngushtohet. Konteksti i këtyre fjalëve ishte i qartë. Ndërkohë që Mattis fliste, zgjedhja tjeter e Trumpit, zotit Pompeu, për të drejtuar CIA-n, dëshmonte përpara një tjetër paneli të Senatit. Zoti Pompeu ishte i sigurtë se do të pyetej në detaje mbi pretendimet e agjencive amerikane të inteligjencës se, Moska ndërhyri në zgjedhjet presidenciale amerikane. Marrëdhëniet mes dy ish-armiqve të Luftës së Ftohtë janë përkeqësuar edhe prej qëndrimeve të ndryshme në luftën civile të Sirisë. Si ish-komandant i Forcave Amerikane në Lindjen e Mesme, Mattis tha se, besonte që Uashingtoni duhet të rikthejnë marrëdhëniet më të mira me Izraelin dhe partnerët arabë. Mattis, 66 vjeç, doli në pension në vitin 2013, nga Trupat e Marinës së Shteteve të Bashkuara, pasi shërbeu si kreu i Komandës Qendrore Amerikane dhe pasi pati udhëhequr forcat amerikane në dy luftrat në Irak dhe me pas Afganistan. Ai njihet për pikëpamjet e forta ndaj Iranit, të cilin e konsideron si një kërcënim për rajonin dhe do të punonte për një president që do të forconte politikat amerikane kundrejt Teheranit. Në se konfirmohet, Mattis do të bëhej i pari ushtarak i karrierës në 50 vjet, që drejton Pentagonin. I fundit ushtarak i larte që ka shërbyer si Shef i Pentagonit ishte George Marshall, në vitet 1950-1951.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, delivered the following opening statement today at a hearing on the nomination of General James Mattis to be the next Secretary of Defense:
“The Committee meets today to consider the nomination of General James Mattis to be the Secretary of Defense of the United States.
“Two years ago, the last time you came before this Committee, the idea that we would be meeting again under the present circumstances would have been hard to imagine—most of all by you. But I, for one, could not be happier.
“All of us recognize the unique, indeed historic, nature of this nomination. General Mattis enjoyed a long and distinguished career in uniform, but current law would bar him from serving as Secretary of Defense for three more years. While I support retaining that law, I also believe that our nation needs General Mattis’s service more than ever. So after this hearing, the Committee will meet to consider special legislation to allow General Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense.
“If confirmed, General Mattis would have the honor of leading a team of Americans who represent everything that is noble and best in our nation. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines do everything we ask of them and more. They make us proud every day. Our many defense civil servants also sacrifice day in and day out for our national security, and rarely get the credit they deserve. I am confident that no one appreciates our people and values their sacrifices more than General Mattis.
“And yet, we meet today at a time of increasing global threat and disorder. For seven decades, the United States has played a unique role in the world. We have not only put America first, but we have done so by maintaining and advancing a world order that has expanded security, prosperity, and freedom. This has required our alliances, our trade, our diplomacy, our values, but most of all, our military—for when would-be aggressors aspire to threaten world order, it is the global striking power of America’s armed forces that must deter or thwart their ambitions.
“Too many Americans seem to have forgotten this in recent years. Too many have forgotten that our world order is not self-sustaining. Too many have forgotten that while the threats we face may not have purely military solutions, they all have military dimensions. In short, too many have forgotten that hard power matters—having it, threatening it, leveraging it for diplomacy, and at times, using it. Fairly or not, there is a perception around the world that America is weak and distracted, and that has only emboldened our adversaries to challenge the current world order.
“The threat posed by violent Islamist extremism continues to metastasize across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, and but for those who remain vigilant, our homeland. It should now be clear that we will be engaged in a global conflict of varying scope and intensity for the foreseeable future. Believing otherwise is wishful thinking. So if confirmed, General Mattis, you would lead a military at war. You of all people appreciate what that means and what it demands.
“At the same time, our central challenge in the Middle East is not ISIL, as grave a threat as it is. It is a breakdown of regional order in which nearly every state is a battlefield for conflict, a combatant, or both. ISIL is a symptom of this disorder. At the same time, Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions have been postponed, but not halted. And it continues to modernize its military, expand its malign influence, and seek to remake the region in its image, from Syria to Iraq to Yemen.
“In Asia, the rise of China is shifting the balance of power in ways that increasingly challenge longstanding U.S. interests. We see a new assertiveness in China to confront U.S. allies and partners, make vast territorial claims with no basis in international law, carve out spheres of influence, and revise the current order.
“North Korea is testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles at an alarming rate. Our intelligence community publicly assesses that North Korea could soon develop a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile that is capable of striking the U.S. homeland. This may become a defining crisis for the next President.
“And then there is Russia. Over the past eight years, under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, threatened NATO allies, and intervened militarily in Syria, leaving a trail of death and destruction and broken promises in his wake. Russia’s military has targeted Syrian hospitals and first responders with precision weapons. Russia supplied the weapons that shot down a commercial aircraft over Ukraine. Russia’s war on Ukraine has killed thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. And in the most flagrant demonstration of Putin’s disdain and disrespect for our nation, Russia deliberately interfered our recent election with cyberattacks and a disinformation campaign designed to weaken America and discredit Western values.
“Each of our last three presidents has had great expectations of building a partnership with the Russian government. Each attempt has failed, not for lack of good faith and effort on the U.S. side, but because of a stubborn fact that we must finally recognize: Putin wants to be our enemy. He needs us as his enemy. He will never be our partner, including in fighting ISIL. He believes that strengthening Russia means weakening America. We must proceed realistically on this basis.
“We must build a position of significant strength vis-à-vis Russia and any other adversary that seeks to undermine our national interests and challenge the world order. We must reestablish deterrence. And that is primarily the job of the Department of Defense.
“But for too long, the Department of Defense has planned and optimized itself for short-term, episodic contingencies. Whether against great powers or global terrorist movements, we now face a series of long-term strategic competitions with clear military dimensions that often occur below the threshold of armed conflict.
“What makes all of this worse is that America’s military technological advantage is eroding. Our competitors, especially China and Russia, have gone to school on the American way of war, and they are rapidly modernizing their militaries to exploit our vulnerabilities with advanced anti-access and area-denial capabilities. Indeed, the entire model of American military power projection is increasingly being called into question—on land, at sea, in the air, and especially in space and cyberspace. In light of these threats, business as usual is not just misguided—it is dangerous.
“All of these problems are compounded by the self-inflicted wounds of the Budget Control Act. For five years, national defense spending has been arbitrarily capped. As global threats have risen, defense spending has often fallen in real terms. Each military service has deferred critical modernization and shed capacity, which has damaged readiness. Worse still, what we do spend is producing less combat power. In constant dollars, we spend nearly exactly the same amount on defense as we did 30 years ago. But we are fielding 35 percent fewer combat brigades, 53 percent fewer ships, and 63 percent fewer combat aircraft squadrons. All this while overhead costs that do not add to combat power have steadily increased. In short, we have done grave harm to our military, as each of our Joint Chiefs of Staff has testified repeatedly to this Committee. Meanwhile, our national debt has increased nearly $4 trillion over the life of the Budget Control Act.
“The President-elect has said he wants to ‘fully eliminate the defense sequester’ and ‘rebuild our military.’ If so, he will find many allies on this Committee. The Budget Control Act is harming us in ways that our enemies could only dream. We must repeal this legislation and increase the defense topline. This will not be cheap, but it pales in comparison to the cost of failing to deter a war, or worse, losing one.
“For all of these reasons, and more, I believe the nation needs General Mattis. We need to stop deterring ourselves and return to strategy—aligning our ends, ways, and means to address global threats. We need to resize and, more importantly, reshape our military, giving our warfighters the most advanced capabilities so they never find themselves in a fair fight. We must continue to reform the Department of Defense so more of its limited dollars are spent on increasing the lethality of our military, not adding to its bureaucracy. That especially means improving defense acquisition, which still takes too long and costs too much to deliver too little.
“I would like to conclude by saying a few words about trust and accountability, and about the relationship between this Committee and the Department of Defense.
“One of the few benefits of my advanced age is the sense of perspective it affords. In recent years, I have witnessed a steady loss of trust and deterioration of relations between Congress and the Department. It is felt on both sides, and there is plenty of blame to go around. Department leaders have too often treated members of Congress as afterthoughts to be notified, not partners to be meaningfully consulted. And Congress has too often sought to bend the Department to its will through ever growing amounts of legislation, trying to manage it from afar rather than oversee it.
“We cannot afford to go on like this. Our challenges are too grave. The wide margin for error we once enjoyed in the world is gone. We need to take more risk if we are to maintain our strategic and technological advantage. We cannot let fear of failure slow us or stop us from innovating. These are challenges that the Department of Defense and the Congress, especially this Committee, must manage together.
“The only way to restore this trust is to start trusting each other. If confirmed, you would have to trust us to be your partners in major decision-making and in sharing the greater risks that are necessary to win in a more competitive world. In return, if you will be accountable to us—and you will be—we must trust you to determine how best to get the results we demand with fewer statutory and regulatory impediments.
“In short, let’s make it our common mission to restore accountability. If we can do that, though the threats we face may be great, I am confident that we can succeed.”