Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Friday that the new National Defense Strategy just unveiled by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will be “meaningless” unless Congress can pass a budget.
The strategy’s aim of rebuilding the military and refocusing on competition from other advanced nations such as Russia and China will require the new funding, tweeted McCain, who is at home in Arizona as he battles brain cancer.
Mattis introduced the shift away from terrorism as the top U.S. security concern and the first major rewrite of strategy in years during a speech Friday at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.
“Secretary Mattis’s newly released National Defense Strategy – aimed at addressing the readiness crisis and restoring our military advantage – is meaningless if we can’t fund it,” McCain wrote in a series of tweets.
Secretary Mattis’s newly released National Defense Strategy – aimed at addressing the readiness crisis & restoring our military advantage – is meaningless if we can’t fund it #passabudget— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) January 19, 2018
During his appearance Friday, Mattis also stressed the need for more funding to make the strategy a reality.
"If you don't get the resources ... then your strategy is nothing more than a hallucination, because, without the resources, there's just so much brave young men and women can do," Mattis said.
As the strategy was released, Congress was facing down a midnight deadline for a passing a budget and a possible government shutdown, which would halt paychecks for troops, cause furloughs for civilian Defense Department workers, and cause disruption for the military.
“Under shutdown, service members will continue working, but won’t be paid,” McCain tweeted. “Key missions will experience disruptions, benefits will stop going to families of the fallen and many maintenance activities will stop.”
Under #shutdown, service members will continue working, but won’t be paid. Key missions will experience disruptions, benefits will stop going to families of the fallen & many maintenance activities will stop #passabudget— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) January 19, 2018
The Pentagon confirmed many of those effects in shutdown guidance released Friday.
Negotiations over a 2018 budget broke down over immigration reform this week and by Friday afternoon a partial government shutdown or another short-term stopgap budget measure seemed likely.
McCain, who was diagnosed with glioblastoma in July, spearheaded a $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act last year that proposes a major hike for the military. But the law’s call for more aircraft, ships and troops cannot be realized without an agreement in Congress to raise spending caps for 2018 and an appropriations bill that supplies the money for the NDAA.
“As a result of Congress’ failure to reach a bipartisan budget agreement, we are facing the probability of a shutdown or yet another continuing resolution. Either option will have disastrous consequences for the military,” McCain tweeted.