Robert Gates warns of Hezbollah's bioterror ability

Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates called for the U.S. military to achieve maximum flexibility when approaching military conflicts in the future, pointing directly at the militant group Hezbollah as an example of the threats the nation may face.

Hezbollah, the radical Mideast Shia Muslim political and military organization operating in Lebanon, has the support of Iran and Syria, and may be armed with more rockets and missiles than most independent states. Some of these arms may be equipped with chemical or biological warheads, according to CNN.

Experts believe that Hezbollah is in possession of cruise missiles capable of threatening U.S. ships within a range of 65 miles.

"We need to have in mind the greatest possible flexibility and versatility for the broadest range of conflict," Gates said, CNN reports. "Our record of predicting where we will use military force since Vietnam is perfect - we have never once gotten it right. There isn't a single instance: Grenada, Panama, the first Gulf War, the Balkans, Haiti, you can just keep going through the list, where we knew and planned for such a conflict six months in advance."

Gates said that future cuts in military spending will be based on a careful review of strategy and priority as opposed to across-the-board type measures. He acknowledged that the U.S. may have to accept a smaller military.

"The overarching goal will be to preserve a U.S. military capable of meeting crucial national security priorities even if fiscal pressure requires reductions in that force's size," Gates said, according to CNN. "I've said repeatedly that I'd rather have a smaller, but superbly capable military than a larger, hollow, less capable one."