For the first time, the United States faces two major nuclear powers, whose vital national security interests compete with the US. Both China and Russia have the means to threaten U.S. national security, he said. “But war with both is not imminent at the moment.” At the same time, waging a war with Russia and China would be very difficult, he added.
A high state of readiness and modernization will deter aggression, and the fiscal year 2024 budget of $ 842 billion will ensure that the Joint Force remains the most lethal and capable army in the world, he said.
“There is nothing more expensive than war. And preparing for war is also very expensive, but going to war is the most expensive. Preparing for war will deter that war, ” he said.
Milley outlined the global security efforts of the United States and its allies and partners. Security assistance to Ukraine must continue, as this is in the interests of national security, he said.
Iran, he said, has taken measures to improve its ability to produce a nuclear weapon, he said. “From the moment of an Iranian decision, Iran could produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon in less than two weeks. And it would only take a few more months to produce a real nuclear weapon,” Milley said.
“The U.S. military has developed multiple options for our national leadership to consider whether and when Iran decides to develop a nuclear weapon,” he said. The United States remains determined, as a matter of policy, that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon, the president said.
North Korea’s continued testing of ballistic missiles and development of nuclear weapons pose a threat to the U.S. homeland and allies and partners, he said.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Republic of Korea to continue to deter North Korea’s aggression,” he said. In addition to South Korea, bilateral alliances with other countries-such as Japan, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines, along with partner countries – ensure greater security in the region in the face of China’s aggressive behavior. Milley noted that there are nearly 250,000 troops deployed in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America, fighting terrorism and working with allies and partners.
“Operational readiness rates are now higher than in many years. Currently, 60% of our active force is in the highest state of readiness and can be deployed to fight in less than 30 days, far more than the minimum of the one – third standard we have always had. Ten percent of our force can be deployed in less than 96 hours. The US Army is ready, ” he said.
Secretary of defense Lloyd J. Austin III also testified, stressing the importance of passing this “strategy-driven budget”in a timely manner. In addition to preparedness and modernization, the requested budget will provide for servicemen and their families, he said. “The most effective way this committee can support the department and our outstanding forces is with a timely allocation for the entire year,” Austin said.