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Trump will give Defense Sec. Mattis ultimate power to decide if more troops go to Afghanistan

June 14, 2017

President Donald Trump is said to have bestowed an ultimate power on Defense Secretary James Mattis, according to a report in Reuters.


Reuters cited an anonymous U.S. official who exclusively told the news agency that Trump gave Mattis the authority to set the troop levels in Afghanistan.

There are currently about 8,400 troops in the country.

Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, during a hearing on the Department of Defense budget, that “[w]e are not winning in Afghanistan right now […] And we will correct this as soon as possible.”

Trump has proposed a $639 billion defense budget, which includes $574.5 billion in the base budget and $64.6 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget, according to the Department of Defense.

The Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Sen. John McCain, asked Mattis if the U.S. needs “a change in strategy, and an increase in resources if we are to turn the situation [in Afghanistan] around.”

“We recognized the need for urgency,” Mattis replied.

McCain had tweeted that, “[f]or 8 [years], US strategy in [Afghanistan] was simply: don’t lose. We need a strategy to win in Afghanistan & we need it now.”