US default would harm military ‘readiness, morale’: Gen Miller

Washington sees no reason to review its strategic N-posture: Dipl

Published : 26 May 2023 08:22 PM

A US government default would harm the country's military, hitting readiness and morale, top US officer General Mark Milley said Thursday.

"There would be a very significant negative impact on the readiness, morale and capabilities of United States military if we defaulted," as well as "reputational damage internationally," the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told journalists at the Pentagon.

"If we defaulted, that would... have significant economic consequences, which would then translate into national security consequences -- paying troops, the morale of troops, weapons systems, contracts, all of that would be impacted," Milley said.

"Readiness clearly would be impacted. So our large-scale exercises that we do at various training centers would probably either slow down or come to a halt in many, many cases."

There are seven days until June 1 -- the earliest possible point when the US government estimates it could run out of money to service its debts if the country's borrowing limit is not raised.

Republicans are demanding cuts of up to $130 billion with spending next year capped to 2022 levels and have laid out three further pillars for a deal: reform of approval for energy projects, tightened work requirements for benefits claimants, and a clawback of unspent pandemic aid dollars.

Democrats reject the proposed cuts and want the Republicans to sign off on a no-strings-attached hike, as they have dozens of times in the past.

TASS adds: The United States (US) sees no reason to review its strategic nuclear posture in connection with reports that Russia has begun preparations for storing its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller has said.

During a media briefing on Thursday, he condemned an agreement between Moscow and Minsk to store Russian tactical nuclear weapons at a facility in Belarus as "the latest example of [Russia's] irresponsible behavior."

"But in response to this report, I've just added we have seen no reason to adjust our strategic nuclear posture or any indication that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon," Miller added.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin signed documents in Minsk on Thursday defining the procedure for storing Russian nuclear weapons in a special storage facility on Belarusian soil.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on March 25 that at Minsk's request Moscow would store its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus similar to what the United States had long been doing on the territory of its allies.

 As the Russian leader pointed out, the construction of storage facilities for tactical nuclear weapons would be completed on the Belarusian territory on July 1.

Russia has already handed over Iskander-M tactical missile systems capable of using missiles with both conventional and nuclear warheads to the Belarusian armed forces. Moscow also rendered assistance in re-equipping Belarusian combat planes for carrying special munitions.