Dempsey: Russia, Terrorists, Cyber Among Top
By Lisa Ferdinando, DoD News, Defense Media
College Station, Texas – (DoD News) – February 19, 2015 – The global
security environment contains a host of threats, including Russian aggression
that threatens NATO allies, and the violent extremists network from western
Pakistan to north Africa, said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey spoke today at a student conference on national
affairs at Texas A&M University, rounding out a two-day visit to the campus.
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the JCS at Texas A&M
University in College Station
He outlined his "two, two, two and one" view on national security, which is
comprised of two heavyweights, two middleweights, two networks and one domain.
Russia is included as a heavyweight, along with China.
Russia ‘Lit a Fire’
Russia "lit a fire of ethnicity and nationalism that actually threatens to
burn out of control," he said. "And in so doing, they are threatening our NATO
Dempsey said it is hard to imagine that in 2015 there would be that kind of
conflict and "those kind of instincts" that are coming to the front again in
The human suffering in Ukraine is "atrocious," he said.
"It's almost unimaginable," the chairman told the audience, which included
members of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets, other university students
and members of the military.
The United States is working with its NATO allies, he said, to reassure the
alliance and also try to assist Eastern Europe, including non-NATO countries, in
"suppressing this effort to rekindle fires that haven’t burned in Europe" in 70
On the other heavyweight, China, he said that nation is reemerging on the
global scene. It is a very strong economic country that is becoming militarily
strong, the chairman said.
The United States will continue to work with China in managing any
differences, he said.
"We'll be competitors but it doesn’t mean, I think, we'll have to be enemies,"
he said. "We're working hard to do that."
Middleweight Powers: Iran, North Korea
The two middleweights are Iran and North Korea.
The United States is working with its partners to try to convince Iran to
seek a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue, he said. Western
nations contend that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, while Tehran says its
nuclear ambitions are for peaceful purposes.
"We are working hard to reach a negotiated settlement on their nuclear
program, but we shouldn’t forget there are other issues which cause us concern
about Iran," the chairman said, noting those concerns include Iran being a state
sponsor of terrorism.
Networks and Cyber Domain
The two networks Dempsey talked about in his speech are the violent extremist
network from western Pakistan to northern Africa, and the transnational criminal
network that runs north and south in the Western Hemisphere. The domain is cyber.
The transregional network of al-Qaida, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,
and other terrorists are competing for a radical, anti-Western ideology that is
fomenting the internal challenges of Islam's Sunni and Shia, he said.
"That network is transregional,” he said. “It will take a generation or more
to be defeated and it will take persistence on our part and working closely and
most often through partners and hardening our allies in order to deal with it."
To combat both the extremist and transnational criminal networks, they need
to be "pressed" across their entire length, not just "pinched" in a spot, the
"You have to interdict the financing; you have to interdict the flow of
foreign fighters or criminals. It takes a really broad effort with partners to
deal with that," he said.
Finally, on the domain of cyber, he said, "we've got a lot of work to do.
We've made some strides, some pretty significant strides, militarily in
particular in terms of defending ourselves."
But the general said despite the security in military networks, 90 percent of
his administration and logistics functions ride on commercial Internet
providers. "So if they're vulnerable, I'm vulnerable and I don't like being vulnerable,"
Action in securing this domain, he said, includes legislation that
establishes a common set of standards on Internet security, and allows
information sharing between the government and the private sector.
From College Station, Dempsey travels on to Kwajalein Atoll and Australia.
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey
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Photo Essay: Dempsey Attends Student Conference at Texas A&M
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