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What Major National Security Challenges Await The Next President?

U.S. Service members participating in a two-mile road march honoring the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks gather afterward for a brief flag-folding ceremony at Sather Air Base, Iraq, Sept. 11, 2011. More than 100 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and civilians donned body armor and marched as the sun rose. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Josef Cole/Released)

The next President of the United States will be faced with major challenges in national security. Retired U.S. Air Force Brigadier General and Louisville native Rob Givens will speak Tuesday evening at the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana about those challenges.

I spoke with Givens about the most pressing issues, starting with what countries pose an existential threat to the U.S.

Listen to our conversation in the audio player above.

Givens on the most pressing threat to national security:

“Even a limited nuclear exchange with the Russians through an accidental exchange of just one missile, we would lose more people in that blink of an eye than we’ve lost in the entire wars in the middle east since 2001. So, these threats are there. Whether they're likely or not  is certainly debatable. But whatever their likelihood, the next president has to make sure that we are prepared to hopefully deter these things from happening, build the proper relationships with these countries so that they do not happen."

Givens on Donald Trump’s comment about putting qualifications on defending a fellow NATO member:

“I think what Trump really meant by that is he’s trying to place pressure on the European countries who have not lived up to the two percent GDP goal that NATO has agreed upon -- I think there's only like five countries, Poland being the fifth -- to finally come up to spend the required amount of military spending. I certainly am not in Donald Trump's mind, so I have no idea if that's exactly what he meant or not, but I think you would take a look at that and see he is trying to find a way as a businessman to play hardball and put pressure on people to meet their obligations, which the European countries are not."

Givens will speak Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the University of Louisville Club & Alumni Center. More information can be found here.

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for LPM. Email Bill at bburton@lpm.org.

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