The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff no longer believes Russia can be “singled out” regarding Washington’s perceived national security threats. North Korea, Iran, and China also top the list of challenges.
During confirmation hearings for his current post as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford described Russia as “the greatest threat to our national security,” saying that Moscow’s “behavior” was “alarming.”
Two years later, Dunford reassessed his original analysis of the alleged Russian threat, claiming that there are other actors threatening US national security, with North Korea now constituting the “number one challenge.”
“I said at the time from a state actor perspective it’s Russia. And I said that because of their nuclear capability and their cyber capabilities,” Dunford said at a recent security forum in Aspen, Colorado. However, he said the US military does not “actually have the luxury today of singling out one challenge.”
“I just want to put it into context. If I was to say Russia is the greatest threat – it is one of the threats that we face right now and the one that is most militarily capable,” Dunford said.
At the same time, Dunford pointed out that Washington is dealing with the Iranian threat “on a daily basis,” though North Korea is currently America’s biggest challenge.
“Obviously, North Korea today from a sense-of-urgency perspective would be our number one challenge,” the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
The fight against “violent extremism,” as well as “some security challenges in the Pacific with the rising China” also top the list of security threats to the US.
To counter Russia, the US Marine Corps general proposed developing nuclear and conventional deterrent capabilities.
“When I look at Russia, first and foremost we have to be able to deter a nuclear war… secondly, we have to be able to deter a conventional war,” he said.