Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said it’s all but a foregone conclusion the U.S. military is in for a period of significant restructuring and scaleback.
Speaking at an inaugural lectures series on civil discourse and democracy at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Mullen talked about the current military moment.
“Barring significant and unforeseen changes, the sheer size of our deployment of U.S. forces to the broader Middle East will decrease over time,” he said. But the military drawdown, coming amid a period of budget austerity, will engender a larger, public discussion about “how we think about ourselves as a military, how we fight wars in the future and how our junior leaders, who have experienced the horrors of war, grow into senior leaders and commanders,” Mullen added.
Mullen, who once famously declared the national debt as the single biggest threat to national security, said nation’s economic situation will drive “tough decisions about what kind of military we build,” in terms of what “must be done,’ he added, “and what can afford to go undone.”