Mullen Assesses Global Security Environment

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2011 — Navy Adm. Mike Mullen pro­vid­ed his assess­ment of the glob­al secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment dur­ing the annu­al Ros­tov Lec­ture at Johns Hop­kins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies here last night.
The chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke about the chal­lenges fac­ing the world and the role that mil­i­taries play.

The Unit­ed States and its mil­i­tary can­not be com­pla­cent, Mullen said. “If past is pro­logue,” he added, “there will be chal­lenges this cen­tu­ry that we can­not imag­ine today.” Mil­i­tary pow­er alone can­not solve the prob­lems fac­ing the world, the chair­man said, but it should be seen as one piece of the whole-of-gov­ern­ment approach. “While mil­i­tary pow­er may prove to be the best first tool of the state,” he said, “it should nev­er be the only one.” 

When it’s used, Mullen told the stu­dents and fac­ul­ty, mil­i­tary pow­er must be applied in a pre­cise and prin­ci­pled man­ner, “even against ene­mies that may not demon­strate sim­i­lar restraint.” 

These real­i­ties are daunt­ing as they occur at a time of con­straints –- fis­cal and oth­er­wise, the admi­ral said, repeat­ing his asser­tion made last year that America’s nation­al debt rep­re­sents the great­est threat to nation­al security. 

The Defense Depart­ment has to adjust to this more con­strained envi­ron­ment, Mullen said, and Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates’ effi­cien­cies pro­gram is a start. The effi­cien­cies effort “can­cels cost­ly pro­grams, improves busi­ness prac­tices and even elim­i­nates more than 100 flag and gen­er­al offi­cer jobs and more than 200 senior exec­u­tive ser­vice jobs from our rolls,” Mullen said. “All told, we believe this will result in a total reduc­tion of $78 bil­lion from the five-year defense plan sub­mit­ted last year.” While mon­ey is one con­straint, anoth­er is ener­gy, the chair­man told the group. 

“In my pro­fes­sion, … the cost of fos­sil fuel man­i­fests itself far more pro­found­ly than just a hefti­er bill at the gas pump,” he said. “I’m acute­ly aware of the cost in blood and trea­sure of pro­vid­ing ener­gy to our forces in Afghanistan today.” 

The mil­i­tary is respond­ing to the chal­lenge. The Navy is build­ing a “green fleet,” the Marines are deploy­ing solar pan­els with units, and the Army is insu­lat­ing roofs to save mil­lions in fuel costs. And the military’s efforts may affect cli­mate change, Mullen said. 

“What­ev­er the root cause, cli­mate change’s poten­tial impacts are sober­ing and far-reach­ing,” the admi­ral said. “Glac­i­ers are melt­ing at a faster rate, caus­ing water sup­plies to dimin­ish in Asia. Ris­ing sea lev­els could lead to a mass migra­tion and dis­place­ment sim­i­lar to what we saw in Pakistan’s floods last year.” 

Oth­er shifts could pull thou­sands of square miles of arable land from Africa, the chair­man not­ed. “Scarci­ty of water, food and space could cre­ate not only a human­i­tar­i­an cri­sis, but con­di­tions that could lead to failed states, insta­bil­i­ty and poten­tial­ly rad­i­cal­iza­tion,” he said. 

These con­straints could place the Unit­ed States at a strate­gic turn­ing point, Mullen said, not­ing that the Nation­al Mil­i­tary Strat­e­gy released ear­li­er this year takes these issues into account. 

“How we lead will be as impor­tant as the mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties we pro­vide,” Mullen said. The emerg­ing secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment calls for more exten­sive and broad­er secu­ri­ty part­ner­ships “with­in gov­ern­ment, between pub­lic and pri­vate, and most impor­tant­ly, inter­na­tion­al­ly,” Mullen said. The Unit­ed States, he said, must ensure its mil­i­tary can oper­ate across the full spec­trum of its capa­bil­i­ties — from sta­bil­i­ty and coun­terin­sur­gency oper­a­tions to more tra­di­tion­al capabilities. 

“Under­pin­ning this strat­e­gy is the belief that there is a place and a need in this world for America’s lead­er­ship,” Mullen said. “But in lead­ing, our mil­i­tary must be ready to play a num­ber of roles –- facil­i­ta­tor, enabler, con­ven­er and guar­an­tor — some­times simultaneously.” 

Mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary con­tacts are enabling nations to deep­en rela­tion­ships and address chal­lenges, the chair­man said. “We saw these con­nec­tions pay very real div­i­dends recent­ly in Egypt –- a nation we’ve shared a strong mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary rela­tion­ship with for decades,” Mullen said. “While the sit­u­a­tion is still evolv­ing, Egypt’s mil­i­tary — their pro­fes­sion­al­ism and restraint — help lend sta­bil­i­ty to an incred­i­bly dynam­ic sit­u­a­tion, and our rela­tion­ship pro­vid­ed mutu­al ben­e­fits to this chal­leng­ing time.” 

This, Mullen said, is why he vis­its his coun­ter­parts in Pak­istan and Chi­na. “When a cri­sis or mis­un­der­stand­ing occurs, it is too late to build a rela­tion­ship,” he said. “It must be cul­ti­vat­ed before­hand over time, one con­ver­sa­tion and one friend­ship at a time.” 

Mullen asked the stu­dents and fac­ul­ty to remem­ber the sac­ri­fices ser­vice mem­bers make as they look for ways to solve the prob­lems con­fronting the nation. “This decade at war has includ­ed some very tough fights, and trag­i­cal­ly, we have lost some tremen­dous young men and women,” he said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →