Russia is now the US’ number one threat, followed by China, North Korea, Iran and Islamic State, Pentagon Chief Ash Carter said at a Senate hearing on the DoD’s budget request. It comes as the Pentagon struggles to keep the budget to 2017 levels.
Challenges arising from the “great power competition” and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) still require a $583-billion military budget, Carter said at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the 2017 defense budget request, according to a Pentagon press release.
“The first such challenge is in Europe, where we’re taking a strong and balanced approach to deter Russian aggression – we haven’t had to devote a significant portion of our defense investment to this possibility for 25 years, and while I wish it were otherwise, now we do,” Carter argued.
The Russian Defense Ministry believes that calling Russia a primary threat has become a habit in Washington’s top circles, as it happens every year prior to debate on the Pentagon’s annual budget requests.
“It is not a thing to be impressed by,” General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the ministry, said in February. “The reason is simple – the discussion of the military budget in Congress for the next year.One needs to remember that the ‘Russian threat’ has been the best-selling threat delivered by the Pentagon not only to Congress, but also to NATO partners since the middle of the previous century.”
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