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U.S. Must Take ‘Long View,’ Forge Security Partnerships, Mullen Says

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2007 – Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen’s top priority as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is to widen the scope of U.S. military strategy to look beyond the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan and strengthen security partnerships, the admiral told an audience here last night. (Video)

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen gives his first public speech since becoming chairman at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, Oct. 25, 2007. The event was hosted by the Center for a New American Security which develops strong national security and defense policies promoting and safeguarding American interests and values. Defense Dept. photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“We are in a generational war, and we need to take a long view and think strategically about how we manage our risks globally,” Mullen said at the Center for a New American Security in his first public address since assuming office as chairman Oct. 1.

The chairman said military leaders responsible for strategic thinking and planning should look “through a long lens.”

“I am concerned that we focus too much on the here and now,” he said. “The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan weigh heavily on the minds of the American people as they do on mine, but we must not be myopic in our view.

“There is more to the Middle East than those two countries,” he added.

Achieving a stable and prosperous Middle East requires more than just a military effort, Mullen said. He noted that participation from non-military elements is vital to gaining the widest breadth of ideas and the broadest range of possible outcomes and alternative futures.

“Security is necessary, but it is not sufficient,” he said. “We must integrate our capabilities with all instruments of national power, and that starts with a better and stronger interagency and the relationships therein.”

Mullen said current security challenges present the United States with an opportunity “to go beyond the interagency” and forge ties with international partners, nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations, and private sector entities.

Regional instability in the Middle East or elsewhere has an impact worldwide, Mullen said, which is why the chairman’s top priority is to develop a comprehensive global military strategy. “It is tied to a larger global view and one that is sustainable over time,” he said.

In the current conflict against radical jihadists, and in the long war in general, Mullen said he encourages “debate and persistent intellectual rigor” as military planners formulate sound strategy for the 21st century.

“We are part of a new world order, and as the recently departed Adm. William J. Crowe once said, ‘It is long on new, and it is short on order,’” the chairman said. Crowe, who served as chairman in the late 1980s and early 1990s, died this month.

“This new era demands we ask hard questions, seek new answers, engage in new debates, explore new military strategic thinking, develop alternative options, come up with new solutions to longstanding problems, and dream up innovative ideas to address these challenges.”

To address emerging challenges to the interdependent global system, the United States must cast a wider net, Mullen said, increasing cooperation with international partners.

“That system has many stakeholders, and we need to work with them as we think about things like global order, stability, and economic prosperity,” he said. “But we will be hard pressed to help a global community safeguard that global system, and by extension our own well being, without the people and the tools to do the job.”

Contact Author

Adm. Michael G. Mullen, USN

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Photo Essay: Mullen Visits Center for a New American Security

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