In the eyes of retiring Army General Raymond Odierno, Russia poses the most “dangerous” threat to the national security interests of the United States, the outgoing Army chief of staff said Wednesday.
Because of its successful and “sophisticated” movements into Ukraine, Gen. Odierno predicted that Russia would challenge the geopolitical status quo and continue to move West and challenge NATO allies Latvia, Estonia, and others.
“They are more mature than some other of our potential adversaries, and I theink they have some stated intents that concern me in terms of how the Cold War ended,” said the Army General. “They have shown some significant capability in Ukraine to do operations that are fairly sophisticated, and so for me, I think we should pay a lot of attention.”
Odierno advocated for NATO and the United States to stand by their Eastern European partners against Russia to ensure its aggression is contained.
“We have deterrent there and I think we’re doing a good job with that. What we have to do in the next several years is continue to increase that so the risk goes up for anybody who might consider operations in Eastern Europe,” Gen. Odierno added.
The outgoing Army Chief of Staff added that the U.S. should consider deploying ground troops into Iraq to battle against the Islamic State terror group. Speaking at the Pentagon, he was confident that American forces could defeat the jihadist entity.
“We could probably go in there with a certain amount of American force and… defeat ISIL,” Odierno said. “The problem is we would be right back where we are today six months later.”
“For me it’s about changing the dynamics, the political dynamics, the economic dynamics, and it has to be done by those in the region,” he added.
General Odierno commanded the Army’s 4th Infantry Division from 2001 to 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. From December 2006 to February 2008, on his second deployment to Iraq, the Army General served as the commander of all Coalition Forces in the country. Odierno has been credited with implementing a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy that engaged locals and drew widespread global support.