“ The US military must use its existing capabilities, build new ones ”

In his first major speech as Pentagon chief, Lloyd Austin on Friday called for developing a “new vision” of US defense in the face of emerging cybernetic and space threats and the prospect of waging larger wars.

Reflecting on US President Joe Biden’s promise to prioritize diplomacy in dealing with foreign policy issues, Austin said the military should provide leverage that diplomats can use to prevent conflict. His comments suggested a contrast to what critics call the militarization of US foreign policy in recent decades.

“The US military is not meant to stand out, but to underpin US diplomacy and advance a foreign policy that utilizes all of our instruments of national power,” Austin said.

Mr Austin warned that the US military cannot simply believe that it is the most powerful and capable military in the world today – “not at a time when our potential adversaries are very deliberately working on it. blunt our advantage ”. He seemed to be referring to China, which other officials say has accelerated its military modernization and accelerated the construction of a wide range of sophisticated weapons while the United States has focused for two decades on combating it. the extremists.

“The way we fight the next great war will be very different from the way we fought the last ones,” he said. “We all need to move towards a new vision of what it means to stand up for our nation.”

Mr. Austin said US defense will continue to hinge on continued deterrence.

The US military must use existing capabilities, develop new ones, and use them all in new and networked ways – “hand in hand with our allies and partners.”

“It’s always easier to put out a small embers than it is to put out a raging fire,” he said.