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Mattis Plays Clean-Up For Trump Among America’s NATO Allies
Remember that extremely awkward speech President Donald Trump delivered at the TK summit in Brussels, Belgium on May 25? You know, the one where the leader of the free world went off-script at the last minute and glossed over America’s commitment to Article 5 of the NATO Charter? Well, NATO certainly does — and luckily for the U.S., Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is here to clean up the mess.
"The U.S. commitment to our NATO Article 5 security guarantee is ironclad," Mattis told the attendees of a 70th anniversary celebration of the post-World War II Marshall Plan on June 28 at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. “Our nations stand together, democratic islands of stability in a world awash with change."
If you’re not familiar, Article 5 stipulates that an attack on one NATO partner nation is considered an attack on the entire alliance, and other member states are expected to pledge military support as part of the treaty’s underlying principle of collective defense. Trump, however, made no mention of this in Brussels, because he went off-book.
In addition to reaffirming the country’s stance on Article 5, Mattis also said that the U.S. will actively participate in NATO's forward presence through 2020, adding that the Pentagon accounted for $4.8 billion for the European Reassurance Initiative in its 2018 budget request — up from $3.42 billion in FY17.
This is not the first time that Mattis has been forced to make reparations for the president’s faux paus Earlier this month, Mattis reassured allies in Southeast Asia of the U.S. plan for continued cooperation and support in the region, which was growing uneasy because of Trump’s posture on disengagement from the area — particularly in the form of pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Mattis, however, reaffirmed that the U.S. will remain steadfast in its pivot to the region.
“The United States will continue to adapt and continue to expand its ability to work with others to secure a peaceful, prosperous and free Asia, with respect for all nations upholding international law,” Mattis said during a speech in Shangri-La, Singapore. “Because we recognize no nation is an island, isolated from others, we stand with our allies, partners and the international community to address pressing security challenges together.”
But it’s not just military fires that Mattis seems tasked with putting out. He has also been outspoken in his support for the the Paris Agreement, an international treaty that seeks to mitigate human-caused climate issues that, in the Pentagon’s assessment, could pose long-term problems for global military operations worldwide. Despite Trump’s purported plan to pull out of the arrangement, Mattis suggested on May 27 that the U.S. may remain open to honoring its agreement to the landmark accord (On June 1, Trump formally pulled out of the Paris Agreement anyway).
Despite this, Mattis continues to quell complex national security crises with aplomb. And although it’s reassuring to know that the Pentagon is in such steady hands, we’d also be totally OK with Mad Dog breaking the leash and raining down some chaos on the appropriate targets.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Trump: $6.1 billion in DoD money going to border wall wasn’t for anything that seemed ‘too important to me’
President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."
Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."
D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.
"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."