Mattis: Terrorism no longer America’s ‘primary focus’
The ISIL is gone.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis unveiled America's new security priorities and terrorism no longer tops the list.
In a speech delivered Friday at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., the retired Marine Corps general said the Pentagon's strategy will now be aimed at countering China and Russia.
"We will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists, but great power competition — not terrorism — is now the primary focus of U.S. national security," said Mattis.
However, while he stated that the "physical caliphate" of the Islamic State "is no more," he maintained that extremists still pose a global threat, explaining, "Violent extremist organizations like ISIS or Lebanese Hezbollah or al-Qaeda continue to sow hatred, destroying peace and murdering innocents across the globe."
Regardless, Mattis said attention must be brought to Chinese and Russian aggression, with the latter in particular garnering a harsh warning if they "threaten America's experiment in democracy."
"If you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day," he seemed to tell the government of Vladimir Putin.
"Work with our diplomats: You don't want to fight the Department of Defense."
The Defense Secretary also took time to call out "rogue regimes like North Korea and Iran" as well as the U.S. Congress.
"Let me be clear," said Mattis. "As hard as the last 16 years have been on our military, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the combined impact of the Budget Control Act's defense spending cuts, worsened … by us operating, nine of the last 10 years, under continuing resolutions, wasting copious amounts of precious taxpayer dollars."