Defense experts give testimony on security concerns

Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, the Defense Intelligence Agency director, and James R. Clapper Jr., the National Intelligence director, spoke during a testimony on Capitol Hill on Thursday, describing their top U.S. national security concerns.

The major threat they discussed were terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, civil unrest between various countries and foreign counterintelligence activity, the Department of Defense reports.

“Counterterrorism is our top priority because [job No. 1] for the intelligence community is to keep Americans safe and the homeland secure,” Clapper said, according to the Department of Defense.

Thwarting some of these attacks has included apprehending agents involved in terrorism and weakening al-Qaeda’s operations, propaganda and training.

There is also great concern about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including Iran’s nuclear program and North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

“The proliferation threat environment is a fluid, borderless arena that reflects the broader global reality of an increasingly free movement of people, goods and information,” Clapper said, according to the Department of Defense. “While this environment is critical for peaceful scientific and economic advances, it allows the materials, technologies and know-how related to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons … and missile delivery systems, to be shared with ease and speed.”

The testimony also mentioned recent events like the disclosures of classified documents through sources like WikiLeaks and the civil unrest that has erupted in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and other North African and Middle Eastern countries.

Burgess also noted that Iran’s space launch missile program might be able to lead toward technology that could someday be used for an intercontinental ballistic missile.