Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump's defense secretary nominee, said at his confirmation hearing Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he believes the world order is "under the biggest attack since World War II." "That's from Russia, from terrorist groups, and with what China is doing in the South China Sea," Mattis said, acknowledging that the U.S. must "recognize the reality" of what we are dealing with when it comes to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mattis said he believes Putin is trying to "break" NATO and said the U.S. should maintain the "strongest possible relationship" with the treaty organization, diverging sharply from Trump's campaign rhetoric.
To face these attacks, Mattis emphasized that "deterrence is critical." He said that requires the "strongest military" — which he thinks the U.S. lacks right now. However, in a break from Trump's publicly expressed doubts, Mattis said he has a "very, very high degree of confidence in our intelligence community."
Listen to Mattis' take on the state of the world order below. Becca Stanek