Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important hearing. I also want to thank our witnesses for appearing today to provide their analysis of the national security threats and other challenges facing us around the world today. I would like to welcome back our former colleague, Director Coats, for his first appearance before the committee and, General Stewart, thank you for your continued strong leadership of the intelligence professionals of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The National Military Strategy is organized around the so-called “four plus one” primary threats facing our nation today – namely Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and the enduring non-state challenge of violent extremism, a tragic example of what we witnessed last evening in Manchester, England, and our hearts go out to the people of England as well as the victims and their families. We are pursuing these issues, and I know you gentlemen are at the forefront in terms of our intelligence efforts and I appreciate what you do
The “four plus one” threats I have just touched upon inform the capabilities we develop, the size of the force we build, and the scenarios we plan against. However, to paraphrase former Secretary Gates, we have a near perfect record in predicting the nature of the next threat we will face: we’ve always gotten it wrong. We rely heavily on our intelligence community to highlight those emerging threats – the ones that we haven’t identified already - and I hope our witnesses will provide the committee with their candid thoughts on the other challenges we should pay close attention to moving forward.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.