Avril Haines, director of national intelligence and a 2022 Wash100 Award winner, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday to discuss the threats posed by Russia, China, Iran and terrorist organizations, DOD News reported Tuesday.
Haines said the intelligence community considers China an unparalleled priority and that the East Asian country is challenging the U.S. across the military, technology and economic areas.
She noted that Russia is deterring the U.S. and the West from providing military aid to Ukraine by using the nuclear rhetoric.
“And if Putin perceives that the United States is ignoring his threats, he may try to signal to Washington the heightened danger of its support to Ukraine by authorizing another large nuclear exercise, involving a major dispersal of mobile intercontinental missiles, heavy bombers [and] strategic submarines,” Haines told the Senate panel.
“We otherwise continue to believe President Putin would probably only authorize the use of nuclear weapons if he perceived an existential threat to the Russian state or regime.”
Haines also noted North Korea’s expansion of its nuclear and conventional capabilities and the focus of IC’s assessment on transnational and global threats, including global health security, migration, climate, destabilizing technologies and transnational organized crime.
Army Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, joined Haines during the Senate hearing.