Chairman Of Joint Chiefs Of Staff Says National Debt Is Biggest Threat To National Security

Tyler Durden's picture

Not China, not Russia, not North Korea, not Iran, not terrorists...According to Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the "single biggest threat" to American national security is the US national debt, which is either $8.85 trillion (public debt), $13.4 trillion (total national debt), $20 trillion (total debt including GSE debt), or $124 trillion (total debt including unfunded obligations), depending on one's definition of the word "debt." And as Zero Hedge has long been warning, the imminent increase in interest rates (sooner or later), will eventually put the country in an untenable funding position. "Tax payers will be paying around $600 billion in interest on the
national debt by 2012, the chairman told students and local leaders in
Detroit." The Chairman (the real one, not his pale imitation over at Marriner Eccles) politely forgot to add that the successful rolling of nearly $600 billion in debt per month is likely an even greater threat to national security.

More from Mike Mullen, commenting on the upcoming annual interest payment forecast:

“That’s one year’s worth of defense budget,” he said, adding that the Pentagon needs to cut back on spending.

“We’re going to have to do that if it’s going to survive at all,” Mullen said, “and do it in a way that is predictable.”

He also called on the defense industry to hire veterans and become more robust in the future.

“I need the defense industry, in particular, to be robust,” he said. “My procurement budget is over $100 billion, [and] I need to be able to leverage that as much as possible with those [companies] who reach out [to veterans].”

And since debt is now the functional equivalent of a nuclear bomb, it behooves readers to know just who the biggest threats to US national security are:

We hope it is appreciated promptly enough, that the entity highlighted in red can just as easily become the biggest domestic threat to national security, should the interests it represents, both political and financial, not get their way.

h/t Robert

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B9K9's picture

I have been patiently waiting for the "enemies, foreign & domestic" clause to finally enter into the (civic) discussion. It's all just an exercise in fundamental logic, to wit:

A. The greatest threat to the nation's security is represented by current economic policies;

B. All members of the military take an oath to " solemnly swear (or affirm) to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic";

C. Ergo, a military coup is Constitutionally protected, if not actually mandated, to rectify such an existential threat.

New_Meat's picture

Good Dog, C. not happening.  Oath and culture too strong.  Not widespread dissatisfaction, no way to assemble critical mass.

Chain of command very strong and control on the ammunition, weapons, communications is exacting.

In my view all good.

- Ned

Millennial's picture

Well your a private and they guarantee you 20k a year, but then it cost 15k just for gas, you're gonna become pissed. Wait for food shortages. The chain of command will start to fall apart when soldiers and low end officers see their money become worthless. Critical mass? Every base seems to have +30k people. That's more people than cops in any one state. Besides the military personnel are taught tactical logistics. 


I would doubt a coup mostly because the people I know and met in the military don't seem to really want to use force to make a point. Obvious answer is obvious. The military isn't so mistreated to justify such behavior that may change though when the money is worth nothing and the benefits go out the window. But again what I would see is a failure in chain in command, not necessarily a coup. 


Though a coup is fine too.

New_Meat's picture

looks like we're pretty much in agreement.  MWR would take care of the gas situation, then the kids could get a good night on the town "bartering" gas for things that kids want.

Coup would be pretty bad, in my view.  Military good at taking things apart like a chicken, not so good at putting them back together, viz Iraq after the qwms at the U.N. quit.

- Ned

Millennial's picture

Well the point of a military is take things apart. Nation building is a rather new doctrine, incidentally one we seemed to have adopted from the Soviets. 

Iraq fell in the blink of an eye because we are much superior to them but also our leviathan force is just untouchable. The problem with Iraq and Afghanistan is more our plans.

1. We invade.

2. We beat the shit outta you.

3. You're left there broken and tattered.

4. Now the State department says "alright walk over to me I'll fix you up."

5. You trip and fall into a hole walking to get patched up by the state department.

6. Game over. 


Never enter a war without a plan to repair the country would be a better doctrine. But frankly I say just level the place and walk out. 


The U.N. is a waste of money. Nuke it.

New_Meat's picture

Millenial, you said "leviathan force".  TPM Barnett follower? - Ned

Millennial's picture

I watched a few of videos, I don't care for his policy of establishing America everywhere, but he does make good points regarding our military, foreign policy, and it's behavior. 

New_Meat's picture

Core and Gap seem pretty useful.  His long view on China seems pretty natural to me, not that there will be all smooth sailing.  Establishing America everywhere is almost acknowledging reality, look at all of the squealing that occurred when Rummy tried to draw down troop levels in Germany.  Took Jones to blow the Army out of their kasserns.  Jones is one imposing SOB.

- Ned

Millennial's picture

I think China is headed for deflation and will probably never really get of out it. The Chinese will follow Japans path. I say this because they are in a massive real estate bubble. Their central bank is suppressing rates to keep it going. When it pops they'll stimulate again and again and again.



New_Meat's picture

I'm with you on the deflation and RE bubble.  However, they have other degrees of freedom.  The command economy allows them to shift policy almost instantly (e.g. margin/down payment on 2nd, 3d, etc. homes).  Their loan sharks are well into the housing market, that would make for some interesting negative feedback when the payments (how does one say "vig" in Mandarin?).

But they do need to come up with like 25MM new city jobs/year.  Transition of PLA/PLAN "factories" to more business driven management is ongoing.  Way ahead on nuclear plant construction: (W), Areva, and well on the path to knockoffs of Areva M310 and two-looper designed more-and-more by BINE and other design institutes.  Hit an industry conference this week with consensus of: a) only game in town, b) difficult dealings, c) all contracts have 'technology-transfer' components.  So we are training our replacements; did I mention that this is the only game in town?

Also why I like Barnett; he makes sense (except he was quite the O-proponent) in many areas and at least has a coherent/consistent vision.

- Ned

StychoKiller's picture

A close equivalent to vig would be guan-xi ("fragrant grease")

kinetik's picture

Or perhaps a half-dose of mercantilism now or a full dose after the dollar falls.

IQ 145's picture

 ref; the UN; too dramatic. just stop paying them, evict them from the nice office building in NYC; and say Bye !

sgt_doom's picture

You comments, I'm sorry to say, are rather incomprehensible?

The U.N. is important in aiding and abetting the World Bank and IMF in changing laws in many, many countries (as in Greece, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Albania, etc., etc.) to allow the new financial instrument known as public-private partnerships to be adopted.

These, in turn, allow for massive securitizations to take place which favor those multinational banks and investment banks.

Also, there's that International Chamber of Commerce, which has a seat at the U.N.

You may be a bit confused as to the real purposes of the UN, the US military and a host of other organizations.

And the US military works on behalf of the multinationals, last time I checked (protecting Chinese mining companies mining copper in Afghanistan, protecting gas and oil pipelines to transport said stuff to facilities in India for multinationals, securing oil in southern Iraq for China, etc., etc., etc.).

Millennial's picture

The UN, IMF, World Bank should all be abolished.

contrabandista13's picture

Appearances can be deceiving and they usually are....  A Big Black Swan....!



IQ 145's picture

 Does a big black swan have a deceiving appearance ? or does it look a like a big black swan? My point ? gee, is there handwriting on this wall ? The wall has handwriting all over it; but nobody wants to read it.

DosZap's picture


I agree's past time.The main problem here is, the Fed holding this debt, is that it's debt that cannot go anywhere,(i.e) no other Sovereign is footing it at all.

And, soon everything is going to be Nationalized.This cannot, must not be allowed to happen.

Fry8HalR's picture

 There is an exception to your -B.- part,   If your are a muslim in the military, now you can say that it is against your religion and do not have to follow your sworn obligation to " " solemnly swear (or affirm) to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic";

Due to political correctness these people can not be courtmartialed and put in prison.

The majority of OPEC is muslim and control the price of oil. Over the last 20 years they have sucked out all the extra money that the U.S. has. Not all of the current oil speculators are muslim but a good percentage I suspect. Every time the U.S. economy looks like it might go up the speculators instantly bid up the price of oil and suck out even more of our dollars, preventing the U.S. from making a recovery to pay on our tremendous debt.

Uncle Remus's picture

Blaming your dealer for your habit?

dcb's picture

I would like to add to A just as you say. the debt is a reflection of poor economic polices. Hence the Joint cheifs should be speaking about that, not debt per se.

In my view much of thathas to do with the federal reserve and it's actions of always blowing asset price bubbles fueled by credit. In addition economic polices that don't fix things, blow them down the road, encourage wealth disparity (social instability). Our own government has played a big role in this.


It is a shame the Joint chiefs don't have the courage to address the real issue. fix those and the debt gets fixed. he is just using a military excuse to cut social programs.  Or of course justify cuts to the military budget :-)

fightthepower's picture

The United States military power and ability to out spend the rest of the world on defense comes from its reserve currency status.  So it is true, there is no greater threat to America's ability to project power than running up so much debt that the dollar is no longer the world's reserve currency. 

The military should attack Washington D.C.

SWRichmond's picture

Be careful what you wish for.

IQ 145's picture

 be careful what you type on your keyboard; never mind what you wish for.

SWRichmond's picture

Yeah, I'm not military and I'm not advocating it.  The only thing uglier than civil war is despotism.

alien-IQ's picture

Instead of unleashing the Military against the country why not just unleash it against the Federal Reserve? It would be much easier and much more effective.

We can do something like this:

1) Seize the Fed and declare all debt to them "odious debt". That would immediately cut our debt by a large sum and require the military to fire hardly one bullet.

2) Return the power to control the issuance of the nations currency to congress...if only because that's what is stated in the...uh...whadda ya call it?...oh yeah...Constitution.

3) Cut military spending by at least 25%. Let's face it really reasonable that we spend more on our military than the entire rest of the world combined does?...It just seems a bit excessive to me...but that's just me. Some may disagree.

From that point forth...a world of possibilities open up. Good possibilities. All we need to do is send a few motivated the Marriner S. Eccles Building....then we can all truly hang a sign that says "Mission Accomplished".

Apostate's picture

It's not necessary. The US has chewed through multiple central banks at this point. The Fed just lived well over triple the next-highest lifespan. 

Kobe Beef's picture

I like this line of reasoning. 2 more questions, please...

"We can do something like this:"

Who's we?

How can do?



DosZap's picture

If the Military wants to take over, due to Constitutional issues,get this SOB back running on Original Constitutional reading....there will be no fight period.

( I can just see Rangel, and Fwank, behind overturned desks w/M4's)..LOL

Simply a removal of what's there now, new elections, and new people, and policies.

The U.S. Military, is not into destroying the country,we have a group in power doing a SLAM bang job on that now.

Constitution?, WTF is a Constitution?.

Now, if Despotism were to occur(which I see NO way) the current U.S.armed forces  would go along with it, then a Civil War would be the only end game.

At that point moving to Haiti, would be an improvement over the end game.


Hephasteus's picture

Dude wake up. It's sociopaths (government) + psychopaths (military). They sprinkle in a few non sociopaths and psychopaths to confuse everyone but conform and control them. vs. EVERYONE ELSE.

tired1's picture

"Fish rots from the head".

Moneygrove's picture

We can thank G.W.bush and McRonald reagan for this mess !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jerome Lester Horwitz's picture

We can thank idiots like you who have nothing to offer except inane commentary. You would be quite welcome on huffpo though.

IQ 145's picture

 And who is the greatest national threat, Pogo; "we have met the enemy and he is us".

BobPaulson's picture

This is also a threat to everybody's security. If the currency dies and one of the US's major hard assets is military hardware, that depreciates very quickly, they are forced to "cash in" the weapons to extract value and take a last desperate swing at maintaining hegemony.

SWRichmond's picture

Which is exactly the reason why we dashed over and started buying / dismantling ex-Soviet nukes after they crashed. 

AnonymousMonetarist's picture

The boomer generation has born witness to the greatest private misallocation of capital in the modern era, dot-com, followed by the greatest public misallocation of capital in the modern era, blutarsky interest rates and banksters too bankrupt to go broke.

As we continue our walk through the fiscal wilderness it is fitting that 40 days and 40 nights (80 years) brings us 1932-2012. (1929-2009 being just a coincidence, of course.)

What shall we call the next generation? The busted?

The rhyming of the greatest separation of wealth since 1928 brings the spectre of the first full-blown deflationary episode post-WW2 to the forefront once again. The prevailing chestnut that deflation will result in depression is for the most part, per the historical record, nonsense. Worldwide, over the last couple centuries, there were 65 episodes of deflation without depression and 21 of depression without deflation, 65 of 73 deflation episodes had no depression, and 8 of 29 depression episodes had no deflation. Nearly 90% of the episodes with deflation did not have depression. (Atkeson&Kehoe, 2004)

Of course back then we had sound money not found money.

Deflation and depression were interlinked in GD1 of course, but not quite the way most folks believe it was. Inflation expectations were well anchored in GD1 and the black diamond in CPI to mark the onset of that crisis was symmetrical to the pop in CPI in the late 30s. Hyperinflation did not ensue because the 'deflation' more rightly should have been called disinflation, and of course deflation is the midwife of hyperinflation (caught you cribbin' Mr. Edwards.) The disinflation of the 30s was reversed with a 40% currency devaluation, the belief in wizards was strong and well met.

The empirical point to consider though is that this Great Depression is occurring in a sovereign that has the world's reserve currency with a national security apparatus that includes the rating agencies. A volatile mix of mischief that allows folks to not only dispel the administration of medicine but promote the advocacy of alchemy while bloviating on how deflation is truly the hemlock of the people, well at least some of the people.

How does this end? To the sound of great applause, folly's denouement ... and then a long period of silence.

In many ways it is the age old story of Emperors and Pirates, deflation being the Jolly Roger, and a headlong drive into oblivion with the argument that forcing the issue will resolve it. Rummy's chestnut of "If you can't solve a problem, make it bigger."

Methinks the Federales have one 'futile and stupid gesture' brewing to can-kick the ebbing empire, guns and butter redux, although this time perhaps more appropriately phrased as buns and gutter. Ultimately regaled, for those of more modest deportment, as Financial Pornography 101 : Gangbanging a String.

The Fed will end, 2016 is circled on my calendar, hoist with their own petar; and 't shall go hard. The world as bard, as they play their last card.

Everyman's picture

The "boomer generation" is the one responsible for this mess.  They are selfish and way too materialistic.

Missing_Link's picture

Agreed.  The boomer generation has insisted on continuously expanding entitlement programs to a point of complete unsustainability while failing to insist on adequate financial governance and regulation and quite often not even balancing their checkbooks.

Hey baby boomers.  I like how you've screwed over all future generations of Americans, in perpetuity, by burdening them with an unsustainable debt burden, a broken economy, and a disunited country.


koaj's picture

the boomers didnt do it. the politicians who bought votes with it did. i would like for helicopter ben to spray hundreds through my windows...if i could bribe a politician to make that happen i would


government is responsible for not only egging people on but also promising them riches and security on the heels of their debt laden kids

bigkahuna's picture


We all did it! We are all still doing it! We are all gonna pay and pay big time. There is no way around it. the first step to being productive in this environment is accepting responsibility and then doing something to make it better.


oh yeah, I am from QUOTE gen X UNQUOTE

DosZap's picture


Face it dudeski, the Boomers are responsible for the FRA of 1912,W Wilson,FDR, Aids, Bubonic Plauge,Smallpox,Pam Andersons tits........etc,etc,etc.


RaymondKHessel's picture

Refuse to buy refuse to fund pensions pay off your house put your money in offshore accts, silver, etc. Don't feed the source that serves these greedy schmucks.

Hephasteus's picture

There's no such thing as an offshore account. The banking industry owns all banks and they really don't give a crap if your money is one country or another.

contrabandista13's picture

We are guilty as charged....  Euthanize us all....  It would be a better world.....


Trust me.....!

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

We are guilty as charged....  Euthanize us all....  

Still asking for gov't to do what you should just do yourself! 

</total sarcasm>