Mullen Cites U.S. 'Vulnerability'
Transition to New President in Wartime Concerns the Military
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
"The nation's top military officer warned yesterday that the transition to a new American president will mark a "time of vulnerability" as the United States fights two wars, and he said military leaders are already actively preparing for the changing of the guard.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, said the U.S. political transition will be "extraordinarily challenging," particularly as the military is engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan and faces interference in both countries from Iran.
"Iran is not going away," Mullen said. "We need to be strong and really in the deterrent mode, to not be very predictable" regarding Iran, he said in a meeting with editors and reporters at The Washington Post.
Mullen spoke on a day when Pentagon officials announced that a second U.S. aircraft carrier group, the USS Lincoln, had arrived in the Persian Gulf for a brief overlap with another carrier. Having two carriers in the Gulf will provide additional air power for strikes and reconnaissance in the combat zone, giving commanders added flexibility, said Lt. Gen. Carter F. Ham, the Joint Staff operations chief. "It allows us, also, to demonstrate to our friends and allies in the region a commitment to security in the region," he said......"