Retired Marine Corps Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Defense, offered a grim assessment Thursday of the U.S. military’s ability to respond to an attack.
In response to a question from Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) during his confirmation hearing, Mattis said that the world order established after the World War II is in jeopardy.
“I think it’s under the biggest attack since World War II, sir,” Mattis said. “And that’s from Russia, from terrorist groups and with what China is doing in the South China Sea.”
McCain observed that such threats “would argue for us making sure we’re adequately prepared to meet these challenges.”
“I think deterrence is critical right now, sir,” Mattis said. “Absolutely, and that requires the strongest military.”
“Do you think we have a strong enough military today in order to achieve that goal?” McCain asked.
“No, sir,” Mattis replied.