Not Hung Up on Four Percent

Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in talking with Pentagon reporters earlier this week about his newly released CJCS Guidance, said his priorities haven’t changed. He views continuing “to secure our interests in the broader Middle East” as his No. 1 priority, however he urges strengthening the efforts of other US government agencies and America’s foreign partners rather than risking “further militarization of our foreign policy.” At No. 2, Mullen wants “to properly reset, revitalize, and reconstitute the joint force.” Questioned about whether the US economy can support a four percent of GDP for defense, a position he has advocated, Mullen replied that he believes four percent “should be a floor, given the challenges that we have that I can see from a national security perspective.” However, he said he is advocating that there be a debate on the issue and added: “I’m not hung up on four percent. But I think having our national security investment correct, in the times in which we’re living, is absolutely critical.” (Press briefing transcript)