Mattis Wants to Make US Military More Lethal

Tells Congressional Republicans He Wants More Funding

Speaking to Congressional Republicans during a visit to Greenbriar resort on Thursday, Defense Secretary James Mattis announced that he believes the US military needs to be made “more lethal,” and pushing for yet more money.

Defense Secretary James Mattis

After a massive military spending increase last yar, Mattis says he wants another $50 billion tacked on for next year. He mocked the idea of the military being an “equal opportunity employer” and emphasized lethality.

Mattis had similarly pushed the idea of making US troops more lethal in September, in the context of pushing for more predictable spending increases. This time as well he complained about continuing resolutions as a funding source, wanting money set out for a longer term.

Mattis says he is hoping to get 3-5% increases annually over the rate of inflation to both build readiness and to compete with Russia and China. The US already far outspends all nations on their military.

Presenting the push for more funds as a push for lethality appears to be popular with hawks, though in practice the US military already kills a massive number of people as it is, and doesn’t seem to be approaching the limit of how many it could kill in a pinch.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.