Will work to strengthen alliances: Mattis

WASHINGTON, Jan 21:  The new American Defense Secretary Gen (retd) James “Mad Dog” Mattis has vowed to strengthen the economic and military ties with allies and “gain full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense”.
“Every action we take will be designed to ensure our military is ready to fight today and in the future,” Mattis said yesterday in a message to department of defense soon after he was being sworn in as head of the Pentagon by the Vice President Mike Pence at the White House.
“Recognising that no nation is secure without friends, we will work with the State Department to strengthen our alliances,” Mattis said.
“Further, we are devoted to gaining full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense, thereby earning the trust of Congress and the American people,” he said.
A retired US marine Corps general, Mattis was sworn in after the Senate confirmed his nomination in a series of swift moves after Trump became the 45th President of the United States yesterday.
“It’s good to be back and I’m grateful to serve alongside you as Secretary of Defense,” he said in his first message to the Department of Defense.
“Together with the Intelligence Community, we are the sentinels and guardians of our nation.
We need only look to you, the uniformed and civilian members of the Department and your families, to see the fundamental unity of our country,” he said.
“You represent an America committed to the common good; an America that is never complacent about defending its freedoms; and an America that remains a steady beacon of hope for all mankind,” Mattis said.
The White House also announced to end the defense sequester and submit a new budget to Congress outlining a plan to rebuild American military.
“We will provide our military leaders with the means to plan for our future defense needs,” it said.
“We will also develop a state-of-the-art missile defense system to protect against missile-based attacks from states like Iran and North Korea,” the White House said.
Noting that cyberwarfare is an emerging battlefield, and that the US must take every measure to safeguard its national security secrets and systems, the White House said the US will make it a priority to develop defensive and offensive cyber capabilities at its Cyber Command, and recruit the best and brightest Americans to serve in this crucial area. (PTI)