Defense Secretary Mattis Calls North Korea America’s Most Serious Threat

North Korea has jumped above Iran on America’s enemies list according to Secretary of Defense James Mattis:

Defense Secretary James Mattis, when he led the U.S. Central Command that oversees operations in the Middle East, repeatedly said that the three gravest threats to the United States were “Iran, Iran, Iran.”

But at a press conference in London on Friday, the retired Marine general suggested that North Korea, with its ballistic missile and nuclear programs, now holds the top spot.

Asked about his previous focus on Iran as the most serious threat, Mattis called Iran “the primary state sponsor of terrorism” but pivoted quickly to the secretive Stalinist regime in Pyongyang.

“In the larger scheme of things, obviously, in a global situation that’s dynamic, you’ve highlighted appropriately I think the North Korean threat,” Mattis said (the reporter had not mentioned North Korea).  [Yahoo News]

You can read more at the link.

Mattis Poster Causes VA Workers to Run In Fear and Panic

This is so stupid I don’t even know where to begin:

Local United States Department of Veterans Affairs staffers were left horrified after a coworker put up a “Make Killing Great Again” poster on his office door.

It all played out earlier this month at a VA office building on Clairmont road in DeKalb County.

After a source inside the agency sent Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Aaron Diamant a picture of that disturbing poster Thursday night, he spent this afternoon working to find out what the agency is doing to ease workers fears and hold the staffer who put it up accountable.

“I’m afraid. I’m truly afraid,” a VA staffer, who spotted the poster and asked not to be identified, told Diamant.

The long-time VA employee, who asked not to be identified, told Diamant she’s terrified every time she returns to work at the building that houses the Healthcare Eligibility Center.

The poster on a 3rd-floor office door contained an image of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the words, “Make Killing Great Again.”

“I thought that he would come in there any day and at any time and start shooting the office up,” the employee said.  [WSB-TV Atlanta]

You can read more at the link, but this poster is clearly a parody of President Trump’s “Making America Great Again” tagline that anyone with a sense of humor would understand.  The fact the media is calling the poster “disturbing” and someone working at the VA is “truly afraid” of the poster I think says more about them then the person who put the poster up in their cubicle.

With that all said the work place should be a professional environment which the poster clearly does not contribute to.  When asked to take the poster down by the union the worker took the poster down.  Yet people going running to the media hoping to blow this up and want the guy investigated, for what?

Tweet of the Day: NATO Warned By US Defense Secretary to Increase Spending

It is telling that Secretary of Defense James Mattis gave no warnings to South Korea or Japan during his recent visit to the area, but did gave a warning to NATO to increase spending:

Report Says Secretary Mattis to Keep General Brooks as USFK Commander

In this Yonhap article about Secretary Mattis’ recent visit to South Korea, there is blurb that states that General Vincent Brooks is likely to stay on as USFK commander:

Another military source said that during the visit, Mattis also expressed his confidence in the U.S. Forces Korea commander, Gen. Vincent Brooks, who was named under the Obama administration and is likely to continue in his current position after the recent administration change in the U.S.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but I hope General Brooks stays on since I believe he has done a great job as the USFK commander.  However, my concern is that President Trump is known for holding grudges and General Brooks did testify to Congress with information contrary to what President Trump claimed during his campaign.

Secretary Mattis Confirms that US Will Help Japan Defend Senkaku Islands

Will we one day execute Operation Senkaku Freedom?  According to Secretary Mattis we will if the uninhabited islets are ever occupied by China:

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis walks with Japanese Minister of Defense Tomomi Inada during a pass and review at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis chastised China on Saturday for “shredding the trust” of its neighbors, while reaffirming that the United States would defend Japan-administered islands claimed by China if they were ever attacked.

Mattis also praised the current cost-sharing agreement for hosting U.S. bases in Japan as a “model agreement,” despite comments by President Donald Trump during his campaign that Japan and South Korea were not paying enough for hosting U.S. troops.

In 2013, China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands, which lie near Okinawa prefecture and Taiwan.

Japanese and Chinese fighter jets regularly overfly the uninhabited territory. Coast guard and other vessels have shadowed one another in nearby waters.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

Secretary Mattis Reaffirms that North Korea is the Only Reason THAAD is Deploying to South Korea

The Chinese and the Russians both know the THAAD system is no threat to them, they are just using this as a way to create a wedge in the US-ROK alliance.  With a left wing candidate likely winning the upcoming ROK presidency if the impeachment of President Park is upheld it will be interesting to see what happens with the planned deployment of THAAD:

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis answers questions from reporters during a flight to South Korea. Photo courtesy of the Defense Department.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that none other than North Korea needs to worry about the planned deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system in South Korea.

Mattis, who arrived in Seoul on his first overseas trip since taking office, made the remark to reporters traveling together with him on the plane, stressing THAAD is a defensive system, according to a transcript provided by the Pentagon.

“There’s only one reason that we even have this under discussion right now, and that is North Korea’s activities,” Mattis said. “THAAD is for defense of our allies’ people, of our troops who are committed to their defense.”

“Were it not for the provocative behavior of North Korea we would have no need for THAAD out here. There’s no other nation that needs to be concerned about THAAD other than North Korea,” he said.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: Secretary Mattis Arrives at Osan AB

An E-4 carrying the U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis lands at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 2, 2017. The visit, which is Mattis’ first official visit to a foreign country as secretary of defense, highlighted the common traits and strengths shared by the U.S. and #ROK governments, including the commitment to bi-lateral cooperation in keeping regional safety and stability in check. #SecDef (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen)  [USFK Facebook Site]

US Defense Secretary Mattis Begins 2-Day Trip to South Korea

So far, so good for Defense Secretary Mattis’ visit to South Korea:

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (Yonhap)

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday began his two-day visit to South Korea in his first overseas trip aimed at underscoring the U.S. security commitment to the Asian ally amid growing threats from North Korea.

After landing at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, at 12:30 p.m., Mattis headed to the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) headquarters in Yongsan, Seoul, according to the defense ministry.

Mattis was briefed by USFK Commander Gen. Vincent Brooks on the security situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, including Seoul-Washington’s joint readiness against North Korean threats that include that it is close to test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, military officials said.

He then met with Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and National Security Office chief Kim Kwan-jin and attended a dinner event hosted by Defense Minister Han Min-koo at a Seoul hotel.

Hwang is currently serving as acting president after President Park Geun-hye was impeached by the National Assembly over a corruption scandal.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but Mattis has reconfirmed the US commitment to deploy the THAAD missile defense system to South Korea despite Chinese objections.

Defense Secretary Mattis To Visit Korea and Japan as Early As Next Week

This is a sign of how importantly the new Secretary of Defense views the region by making this his first overseas trip:

James Mattis

James Mattis, secretary of defense in the Donald Trump administration, is expected to make his first overseas trip to Korea and Japan next month, according to multiple diplomatic sources. Mattis is expected to hold talks with Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo amid concerns over North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations.

“Secretary Mattis, as his first overseas trip, is reviewing visiting Korea and Japan as his top priority,” one diplomatic source in Washington said Tuesday. “This shows that the Trump administration following its inauguration is unswervingly putting emphasis on its relationship with its two allies in Asia.”

Multiple officials said that retired four-star Marine general will visit Korea as early as next week.   [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Trump Selects General James Mattis as the Next Secretary of Defense

Some readers may remember that General James Mattis was the person that an anonymous collective of conservatives were supposedly trying to recruit for a third party run for President.  Instead he is now going to be the next Secretary of Defense for the soon to be President Trump:

“We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our secretary of defense. But we’re not announcing it until Monday, so don’t tell anybody,” Trump told his supporters in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Keep it inside the room,” he added jokingly.

Mattis, who served in the Marines from 1969 until his retirement in 2013, represents a big change from the current secretary of defense, the bookish Ashton Carter, a former Harvard professor who was trained as a physicist.  [Yahoo News]

You can read more at the link.