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DoD Memo: Incoming Administration Fails to Include Russia in Defense Priority List

A Defense Department memo shows that Russia is not mentioned in President-elect Donald Trump’s defense priority list that includes the development of a cybersecurity strategy, elimination of budget caps and the campaign against the Islamic State militant organization, Foreign Policy reported Tuesday.

Brian McKeon, acting defense undersecretary for policy, listed Trump’s priorities that were conveyed by Mira Ricardel, co-leader of Trump’s transition team at DoD, in the Dec. 1 memo to employees, John HudsonPaul Mcleary and Dan De Luce wrote.

According to the document, Trump’s transition team held briefings on China, North Korea, force structure and budgetary concerns with the Pentagon.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cited Russia as one of the top threats to the U.S. during a Senate hearing in 2015, Foreign Policy reported.

“If you look at [Russia’s] behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming,” Dunford added.

Jessica Ditto, a spokeswoman for Trump’s transition team, said the list is not “comprehensive” and that it is “completely erroneous and misleading” to speculate that the issues listed in the memo reflect all of the incoming administration’s priorities, the report added.

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