Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says he was “shocked” upon his return to the Pentagon by the poor state of the US military's readiness for combat.
The retired Marine Corps general puts most of the blame on Congress for its inability to approve budgets on time or repeal a law that strictly limits defense spending.
Mattis made his comments Monday night in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee.
Mattis says Congress has “sidelined itself from its active constitutional oversight role” by failing to deliver a steady stream of funding to pay for new weapons and other critical gear.
The Pentagon chief is also pressing for another round of military base closings, something Congress previously has rejected as lawmakers look to protect bases in their districts.