US Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks at an event. File photo
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper suggested on Thursday he could be ready to start a highly anticipated global force repositioning this year as part of an effort to refocus the Pentagon on challenges from China and Russia.
Esper said he did not want to put a firm timeline on the completion of his so-called "defense-wide review," which is expected to trigger those troop movements.
"If I had to put an end-date (on the review), I want to make sure we are in some type of better posture by the beginning of the next fiscal year," Esper told reporters, referring to the government's calendar year for spending, which begins on Oct. 1. "So I want to move fairly quickly."
Esper made the remarks during a trip to Miami as he began a review of military missions in Latin America, part of a sweeping global examination of deployments that he hopes will allow him to redirect more forces to Asia and send others back to the United States from overseas.
Many experts say the effort is overdue, given military advances in China during the past two decades as America focused on counter-terrorism operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere.
Still, at a time of heightened tension with Iran and Iran-backed groups, it's unclear how big of a shift can be expected, particularly in an election year.
The review is being closely watched by proponents of US military engagement in Latin America and Africa - two of the typically worst-resourced regions for the US military.
The meeting in Riyadh, where Esper arrived late on Monday after an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, also took in defence issues and the current situation in the region.
The split between the president and his Pentagon chief came amid heightened tensions with Tehran following a US drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Trump had twice warned that he would hit Iranian cultural sites if Tehran retaliates against the US.
US Defence Secretary Mark Esper met senior Mongolian leaders on Thursday in a rare visit to the strategically important nation as the Pentagon seeks to implement its strategy
Esper said that the numbers could fluctuate, particularly if European allies strengthen their presence in the country. Trump's abrupt announcement last month that he had ordered a full troop withdrawal drew angry rebukes at home and abroad.
Within seconds, he was cowering on the ground surrounded by more than a dozen young men, who began beating him with wooden sticks and metal rods. Blood flowed from his head, spattering his clothes. The blows intensified. He thought he would die.
The price of Super 98 is to drop to Dhs2.16 per litre for March, down from Dhs2.24 in February, while the price of Special 95 is to drop to Dhs2.04 per litre for March, down from Dhs2.12 in February.
The annual fishing and trade ban on sharks, Arabian safi (emperor), and sheri (rabbitfish) will come into effect again this year from Sunday (March 1, 2020), coinciding with the spawning season of the fish.