President Donald Trump wants more boots on the ground in Syria where the U.S. CIA and Special Forces already have a small footprint of advisors to rebels. There have already been incidents in which Russian jets bombed targets that included where American forces are co-located.
That prompted the Obama administration to have conversations with Russians to seek more cooperation and to prevent American casualties.
When multiple nations engage enemies in the same battle space, communications are essential. However, that may not include providing all of the details about force characteristics and precise locations.
Expanding the force size may require more collaboration, but the Defense Secretary doesn't see that now.
"BRUSSELS, Feb 16 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's defense secretary on Thursday said he did not see the conditions for military collaboration with Russia, in a blow to Moscow's hopes for repairing ties with the United States following Trump's election.
"We are not in a position right now to collaborate on a military level. But our political leaders will engage and try to find common ground," Jim Mattis told reporters after talks at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Asked whether he believed that Russia interfered in U.S. presidential elections, Mattis said: "Right now, I would just say there's very little doubt that they have either interfered or they have attempted to interfere in a number of elections in the democracies."
ABC News image