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Digits, Dollars Loom as Top Threats to U.S. Military Strength

January 24, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Enemies attacking in cyberspace and budget cutters slashing defense programs are the premier threats to the U.S. military, according to a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Adm. Mike Mullen, USN (Ret.), warned a luncheon audience at West 2012 in San Diego that cyber is an existential threat to the nation. "We don't have many existential threats any more; cyber is one," he said, adding, "I understand that the enemy is as good as we are." The other significant threat to the U.S. military is possible budget sequestration cuts. Adm. Mullen described the current budget crunch as "a long time coming." He and other planners saw the potential problem looming nine years ago. "The train that has been underway since then now has shown up," he said. The budget crisis is manageable, but leaders must focus on where to take risks. The military can manage the currently planned $480 billion in cuts over the next 10 years, but the sequestration plan to axe another $500 billion "has a good chance of breaking us," he warned.

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