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CNN: Number of Threats Rising as Number of U.S. Troops Declining

• July 9, 2015 8:34 pm

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The U.S. is cutting 40,000 active-duty troops even as its enemies become more powerful, CNN reported Thursday.

"The number of U.S. threats is rising, the number of U.S. troops available to deal with those threats is declining," CNN's Barbara Starr said on the The Situation Room.

Starr was reporting on "dire" testimony given on Thursday by the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford.

Gen. Dunford stated during a Senate confirmation hearing that Russia represents the greatest threat to the United States today.

"Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security," Dunford said. "If you look at their behavior, it's nothing short of alarming."

In a contrast to Obama administration policy, the Marine general recommended sending weapons to the embattled Ukrainian government to defend against "Russian aggression." President Obama has so far refused to give weapons to Ukraine for fear of retribution by Russia. The United States has sent Ukraine "nonlethal aid" such as radios and first-aid kits instead.

The U.S. military is being hamstrung by budget cuts in the face of an increasingly uncertain security situation in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. On Thursday, the Army announced it would cut the number of active-duty troops by 40,000 over two years, from 490,000 to 450,000.

Many experts contend that the troop cuts, which are the result of sequestration budget cuts passed by Congress in 2011, will diminish U.S. influence in the world even as our enemies become more emboldened.

If troop cuts cannot be averted, the American Enterprise Institute's Tom Donnelly writes, "the world will be a bigger mess, particularly in the Middle East and Eastern Europe where only ground forces can make a decisive difference."

Published under: CNN, Joseph Dunford, Russia