U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn told an audience at the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles that the face of threats to U.S. national security is changing.
"Terrorist organizations and rogue states seek weapons of mass destruction, insurgents are armed with (improvised explosive devices) that can penetrate even our most sophisticated armored vehicles," he said in comments published by the Pentagon. "We even see criminals who have world-class cyber capabilities."
Lynn said the threats that nation-states face from non-state actors in the current defense environment were once unthinkable as technology and non-conventional tactics grow in their use.
Rogue nations and terrorist groups, he said, are using asymmetric warfare to take on U.S. military fighters in unconventional ways.
With U.S. forces engaged simultaneously in Iraq and Afghanistan, Lynn said, that challenge to meet adapting threats is great.
"Succeeding in these tumultuous times, while prevailing in Afghanistan and Iraq, will not be easy," he said. "But I'm confident that we have charted a path that will keep our nation safe."