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Mattis Talks Strategy, Partnerships

Oct. 30, 2018
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In a web-streamed event from the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington today, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis detailed the security environment that led to the drafting of this year's National Defense Strategy, again making the case that there is strength in numbers. At the hourlong event, Mattis focused the majority of his time discussing the strategy's second line of effort: “Partnerships.”

Below is an overview of the National Defense Strategy key facts and highlights from the event:

This is the first new National Defense Strategy in a decade, and it has two main goals:

To restore America's competitive edge by blocking global rivals Russia and China from challenging the U.S. and its allies; and
To keep those rivals from throwing the current international order out of balance. The strategy lays out three distinct lines of effort: Lethality, Partnerships and Reform.

Two jets, framed by an opening in an aircraft in front of them, fire flares while in flight.
Eagle Flares
Two Air Force F-15 Eagles deploy flares after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission supporting Operation Inherent Resolve over Iraq, May 5, 2018. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Keith James
Photo By: Staff Sgt. Keith James
VIRIN: 180505-F-GV347-0204C
Lethality: Long-term, strategic, Cold War-style competition has reemerged, and the U.S. is being challenged in the air, on the sea and land, in space and in cyberspace. So, how does the nation prepare for and prevent war? By modernizing the force, thinking ahead, being more flexible with its capabilities, and by having the best and brightest on the team.

Partnerships: As the old saying goes, there is strength in numbers. When nations pool resources and share responsibility, their burdens become lighter. It also gives the U.S. a better chance to advance its interests and maintain a balance of power that will keep enemies from thinking twice about aggression. The stability that comes from alliances and partnerships can also generate much-needed economic growth.
Troops point weapons while running on a beach away from a parked amphibious vehicle.
Beach Advance
U.S. and Romanian marines advance during an amphibious landing exercise in Nemirseta, Lithuania, June 4, 2018, as part of Baltic Operations, an annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic region. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Dengrier M. Baez
Photo By: Staff Sgt. Dengrier Baez
VIRIN: 180604-M-RT059-0518D


An silhouetted airman launches a drone in an open area.
Drone Zone
Air Force Tech Sgt. Matthew Coutts launches a Raven B Digital Data Link drone during a demonstration in Southwest Asia, Jan. 24, 2018. Coutts is assigned to the 332d Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron. After takeoff, the Raven B uses battery power to patrol the air for up to 90 minutes. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Kleinholz
Photo By: Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz
VIRIN: 180124-F-MF020-026C
Reform: During the Cold War, U.S. military forces and technology were far superior to those of Russia and China. But those days are gone — the nation’s adversaries are catching up. The race to stay ahead of the curve is closer than before and harder to maintain, so the U.S. needs to modernize and streamline, getting the most from every taxpayer dollar. Up until now, DOD has been focused on being thorough (via lots of red tape) and minimizing risk (not taking chances on projects or tech if we're unsure what rewards they will reap). But that's not cutting it anymore.