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Tighten the Fiscal Belts: Mullen

Speaking to a group of airmen at Langley Air Force Base, Va. today, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said the nation’s financial crisis is certain to adversely impact future military funding and ongoing operations, according to a Pentagon press release.

"The global financial crisis is going to have an effect on us in the military, and I’ve thought that for months," he said. "To the degree that this financial crisis has an impact on us, and it will, I worry about an increased level of insecurity [and] instability around the world."

The military’s top officer said he's uncertain how soon the crisis will begin to impact military budgets, but he said DoD must start trying to reduce its costs by making adjustments, the release says. However, he did not specify where cost cutting measures might fall. "It’s going to take a very healthy debate about what it’s going to take to provide for our national security during these very challenging times."

"We need to pay an awful lot of attention to that," he said. "I clearly think it’s going to impact the Department of Defense, but I don’t know the specifics of that at this particular point in time and how the new administration will address this." Mullen pointed to rising health care costs as one of DoD’s biggest fiscal challenges. He also said military officials are mindful of the impact the economic crisis is having on dependent families.

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