Dempsey Remembers American Superiority

Clarifies comments made on radio show

Martin Dempsey / AP


The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey clarified on Tuesday that the United States remains the planet’s top military power across all arenas, after suggesting otherwise on a morning radio show.

"In most domains we are the preeminent military power on the planet and we intend to stay there," Dempsey told 103.5 FM WTOP’s JJ Green on Tuesday morning.

Dempsey did not divulge during the interview which countries may have surpassed the United States, nor did he say which domains the United States has been surpassed in.

The chairman’s office told the Washington Free Beacon that he misspoke and believes the U.S. military is still the dominant global power in "all," not "most," domains.

"I did confirm with Gen. Dempsey that he meant to say ‘all,’" said spokesperson Col. David Lapan.

The United States is widely considered the world’s sole military superpower and has been since the end of the Cold War.

Dempsey warned during the WTOP interview that a lack of confidence was one of the greatest threats to the U.S. military.

"I worry more about maintaining our swagger," said Gen. Dempsey. "The psychological threat is one of confidence, really. And it’s related to the uncertainty we’re working through in terms of the budget, frankly."

"Even the Miami Heat—if they don’t walk out there with a swagger, I don’t care how good their athletes are, they’re going to have less confidence than they need to have," explained the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

National security experts say the United States military remains the world leader, but note that the sequestration-mandated defense budget cuts could put this status at risk.

"In the post-Cold War world, the United States has had a peerless military pretty much on every domain," said Robert Zarate, the policy director at the Foreign Policy Initiative. "But in the years to come, U.S. military preeminence will be in increasing danger unless and until President Obama and Congress act to stop sequestration’s forced and massive cuts to defense spending over the next decade."

Alana Goodman   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Alana Goodman is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon, she was assistant online editor at Commentary. She has written for the Weekly Standard, the New York Post and the Washington Examiner. Goodman graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 2010, and lives in Washington, D.C. Her Twitter handle is @alanagoodman. Her email address is

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