This report originally published at defense.gov.
WASHINGTON, March 29, 2018 —
The spending act President Donald J. Trump signed into law last week provides more than $700 billion to improve military readiness and lethality, and to modernize the force. Now, it is up to everyone in the Defense Department to ensure that money is used wisely, chief Pentagon spokesperson, Dana W. White, told reporters today.
The spending bill passed with bipartisan support six months after the beginning of the fiscal year. “We will use the money to rebuild and restore our military to ensure we remain the most lethal force in the world,” White said.
In a March 26 memo, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis tasked every member of the department “to gain full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense.”
Mattis wants all to focus on building a more lethal military, one that will continue to overmatch potential foes now and into the future. “We are humbled and grateful to the American people for entrusting their hard-earned tax dollars to us,” White said. “We owe it to them to spend their money wisely.”
White also discussed the situation in Syria, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has been significantly degraded, but is not yet eliminated. “Important work remains to guarantee the lasting defeat of these violent extremists,” she said. “Our commitment to win must outlast the so-called physical caliphate, and the warped ideas that guide the calculated cruelty of ISIS.”
The spokesperson also addressed reported Turkey’s concerns about Kurdish terrorists on its border with Syria.
“We are working with our NATO ally Turkey to reassure them that we understand their security concerns and will appropriately address them as we fight ISIS together,” White said. “But we must not become distracted and reduce the pressure on ISIS.”
White also noted that although the Defense Department issued a transgender policy as the result of a suggestion Mattis made to the president, four court orders have directed DoD to continue “assessing transgender applicants for military service and retaining current transgender service members.”
“Because there is ongoing litigation, and to safeguard the integrity of the court process, I am unable to provide any further details at this time,” she added.
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