|US SecDef Jim Mattis|
By Thomas WATKINS
Pentagon chief Jim Mattis told lawmakers Monday he was "shocked" by the state of the US military's readiness, blaming legal budget caps and the grind of 16 years of constant war.
The defense secretary also warned that North Korea has become the most urgent threat to peace and security, and said -- without giving details -- that America must do things differently in Afghanistan.
Pointing to Obama-era budget caps known as sequestration, Mattis said limits on military spending have left troops at greater risk and blocked important new programs -- even though the defense budget is already greater than that of the next seven countries combined.
"I retired from military service three months after sequestration took effect," Mattis, a former Marine general, told the House Armed Services Committee.
"Four years later, I returned to the Department (of Defense), and I have been shocked by what I've seen about our readiness to fight... No enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of our military than sequestration."
Mattis was addressing lawmakers seeking additional information about President Donald Trump's proposed 2018 budget.
Read the full story at SpaceWar