US Defense Department to boost intel, cyber-protections against threats

The US military is stepping up its efforts to gather intelligence, fend off cyberattacks and improve relations with other nations. It is part of a broad plan to keep the country safe while its strained military struggles to fight two wars. The four-page Pentagon plan acknowledges a significant risk remains that the military cannot quickly and fully respond to another outbreak elsewhere in the world. It outlines what must be done to counter the threat. Sent to Congress by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and obtained by The Associated Press, the plan relies heavily on building partnerships with other countries. It accompanied a classified risk assessment compiled by Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "The most important component in the Long War is not the fighting we do ourselves but how well we help our partners defend and govern themselves," Gates said in the plan. That would include, he said, providing more disaster relief around the globe to improve "the positive worldwide perception of the United States."