A long-term continuing resolution or other future budget uncertainty would be “catastrophic” for US Southern Command, a command that already receives very little military assets. Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of USSOUTHCOM, said during an appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., that more budget cutbacks would mean his command would get “less than nothing” in military support. While his command does not deal with military threats, US action is needed to stop the growth of the drug trade from South America and the growing threat of narco-terrorism, especially if a “nightmare scenario” plays out of a terrorist network combining with the drug and human smuggling trade coming into the US. “I don’t get why we aren’t more aggressive in stopping the drug trade,” Kelly said. If his command could receive any additional budget help and military infrastructure, Kelly said he needs ships that can carry helicopters to assist in drug interdiction on the seas. In 2014, USSOUTHCOM took in 191 metric tons of cocaine, and more drugs are still making it to the US, he said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.