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Joint Chiefs chairman reiterates security threat of high debt - impacts Military Purchases!

• Roxana Tiron, The Hill

Pentagon leaders, the military services and defense contractors must work together to cut bureaucratic bloat and unnecessary programs, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday.

Adm. Mike Mullen also renewed his warning that the nation’s debt is the biggest threat to U.S. national security.

“I was shown the figures the other day by the comptroller of the Pentagon that said that the interest on our debt is $571 billion in 2012,” Mullen said at a breakfast hosted by The Hill. “That is, noticeably, about the size of the defense budget. It is not sustainable.”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has initiated an effort to free up $100 billion over the next five years to maintain current fighting forces and to modernize weapons systems.

The goal is to find more savings within the defense budget without cutting the top-line number. The savings would be used on other Pentagon needs. Pentagon leaders are eyeing 2 to 3 percent real growth in the Pentagon’s budget for the areas that need it most: force structure and modernization. 

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