Worldwide Threat Scope
Worldwide Threat Scope,
Complexity on the Rise
By Claudette Roulo, DoD News, Defense Media
Washington D.C. – (DoD
News) – February 3, 2015 – Taken in aggregate, recent political, military,
social and technological developments have created security challenges more
diverse and complex than any the nation has ever experienced, Marine Corps Lt.
Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told
Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on the subject of worldwide
threats, Stewart was joined by Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville, Joint Staff
director for operations, and Mark S. Chandler, acting director for intelligence
for the Joint Staff.
challenges range from highly capable near-peer competitors, to empowered
individuals with nefarious intentions. Increasing demands, coupled with today's
challenging fiscal environment, have stressed our defense intelligence
establishments and forced us to accept greater risk," Stewart said.
strategic environment isn't going away any time soon, he said. The increasing
scope, volatility and complexity of threats are "the new normal," Stewart said.
Intelligence Agency is focused on three areas of special concern, the general
military competitors -- Russian military activity, for example -- [are] at
historically high levels," he said. "Moscow is pursuing aggressive foreign and
defense policies, including conducting destabilizing operations in the Ukraine,
conducting a record number of out of area naval operations and increasing its
long-range aviation patrols.
addition," Stewart continued, "Beijing is focused on building a modern military
capable of achieving success on a 21st century battlefield and advancing its
core interests -- which include maintaining its sovereignty, protecting its
territorial integrity and projecting its regional influence."
Breakdown of Law and Order
Vulnerable and ungoverned territory is on the rise due to the erosion of
moderate and secular Islamic states, Stewart said.
coalition strikes have degraded [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's]
ability to operate openly in Iraq and Syria, the group retains the ability to
conduct limited offensive operations and is seeking to expand its presence and
influence beyond these two countries," he said. "Governments in countries such
as Egypt, Algeria, Jordan and Lebanon are under stress from a variety of
sources, thereby reducing their capability as a region to confront the threat
posed by violent extremists."
breakdown of order in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya and northern Nigeria has created
"fertile spawning grounds" for terrorist organizations with far-reaching
influence, the general said.
The space and
cyber domains are increasingly threatened, he said. Russia and China are
recognizing the strategic value of space and are focusing on diminishing the
advantages held by the U.S. and its allies. "Both countries are conducting
anti-satellite research and developing anti-satellite weapons, with the intent
of denying the U.S. the use of space in the event of conflict," Stewart said.
Defense Department, the cyber threat is particularly alarming because of the
interconnected nature of weapons, communications and networks, he said. "At low
cost, with limited technical expertise, our adversaries have the potential to
cause severe damage and disruption to U.S. systems, leaving little or no
footprint behind," the general said. And the speed and influence of mobile
communications and social media have the potential to magnify international
crises and shorten an already compressed decision-making cycle, Stewart added.
for intelligence has never been greater, he said, but sequestration and
operational demands have forced the military intelligence community to accept
increased risk. This "will have a direct and lasting impact on our ability to
provide high-quality, nuanced intelligence required by policy makers and war
fighters. I fear that the true cost of these difficult choices today may be paid
on the battlefield of the future," the general said.
(Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter: @roulododnews)
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart
Defense Intelligence Agency
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