Mattis: 'If You Threaten Us, It Will Be Your Longest and Worst Day'

February 6, 2018

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday delivered a stern warning to any country or non-state actor that might threaten the United States.

"Those who would threaten America's experiment in democracy must know if you threaten us, it will be your longest and worst day," Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee in congressional testimony.

Mattis was on Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers on the Trump administration's recently released National Defense Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review. The Pentagon chief said that his priority is to make the military more lethal, but warned about the dangers that the U.S. faces without a House budget proposal that includes full funding for the Department of Defense for the next fiscal year.

"Our first line of effort emphasizes that everything we do must contribute to the lethality of our military," Mattis said. "In war, an enemy will attack a perceived weakness; therefore, we cannot adopt a single preclusive form of warfare. Rather, we must be able to fight across the spectrum of combat. This means the size and composition of our force matters."

Mattis emphasized the importance of the U.S. military investing in new technological advances, noting that "we cannot expect success fighting tomorrow's conflicts with yesterday's weapons and equipment." He went on to highlight some of the technology and strategy techniques in which the Pentagon is investing to compete militarily with other world powers.

"Next week you will see in our FY19 budget investment the following: Space and cyber, nuclear deterrent forces, missile defense, advanced autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, and professional military education to provide our high-quality troops what they need to win," Mattis said.

Pentagon officials and lawmakers have warned that the sequestration budget cuts and short-term budget deals in Congress devastate the military's ability to operate effectively.

Mattis said that the second line of effort in the defense strategy is to strengthen traditional alliances while building new partnerships.

"History is clear that nations with allies thrive. We inherited this approach to security and prosperity from the greatest generation and it has served the United States well for 70 years," Mattis said. "Work by, with, and through allies who carry their fair share is a source of strength."

"Today, the growing economic strength of allies and partners has enabled them to step up, as demonstrated by more than 70 nations and international organizations participating in the 'Defeat ISIS' campaign and again in the 40-something nations standing shoulder to shoulder at NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan," Mattis added.