Russia and China were seeking veto power over the economic, diplomatic and security decisions on their periphery and challenging US’s ability to deploy troops at will unlike in the past, Defence Secretary James Mattis has said. “We must look reality in the eye. Russia and China are seeking veto power over the economic, diplomatic and security decisions on their periphery,” Mattis said. He told the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russia and China are actively contesting US’s capabilities in every sphere. “For decades, the US has enjoyed uncontested or dominant superiority in every operating domain or realm. We could generally deploy our forces when we wanted, assemble them where we wanted and operate how we wanted. Today, every operating domain; outer space, air, sea, undersea, land and cyberspace is contested,” Mattis said. Amidst the rise of countries like Russia and China, US’s adversaries are now actively contesting its capabilities, he said. Appearing along with Mattis, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that while the US has been primarily focusing on the threat of violent extremism, its adversaries and potential adversaries have developed advanced capabilities and operational approaches specifically designed to limit US’s ability to project power.
“They recognise that our ability project power is a critical capability necessary to defend the homeland, advance our interests and meet or alliance commitments. Russia, China and Iran have fielded a wide range of cyber, space, aviation, maritime and land capabilities specifically designed to limit our ability to deploy, employ and sustain our forces,” Dunford said.