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James Mattis Calls on National Guard, DoD to Strengthen Alliances, Lethality

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Defense Secretary James Mattis has called on the National Guard Association of the United States and the Defense Department to beef up lethality and readiness measures by strengthening the country’s ties with existing allies and creating new ones, DoDNews reported Sunday.

Mattis told the National Guard Saturday at the group’s 140th Conference in New Orleans that in this era of terrorist threats replacing the power struggle among the Americans, the Chinese and the Russians, the organization should contribute to the National Security Strategy by intensifying military readiness.

“We Americans have no God-given right to victory on the battlefield. So we need you, my fine young National Guardsmen, at the top of your game,” he said.

“Lethality begins when we are physically, mentally and spiritually fit to be evaluated by the most exacting auditor on Earth – and that auditor is war,” said Mattis, a 2018 Wash100 recipient.

He expressed concern regarding how defense strategies might be affected without military readiness, citing the results of the World War II battle for Bataan and the first months of the Korean War.

He also stressed the importance of DoD modernization accountability, affordability and performance and celebrated that 87 percent of Congress approved the recently enacted 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

Mattis underlined the National Guard’s role in helping America create alliances via the State Partnership Program, which developed partnerships between Argentina and Georgia, Chile and Texas, Alaska and Mongolia, and Colorado and Jordan.