US security chief calls national debt ‘a dire threat’

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 13, 2018.

Aaron P. Bernstein | Reuters

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 13, 2018.

Among the myriad threats to national security — North Korea, Russia as well as Iran among them — is usually one very big economic issue, National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats said Tuesday.

Speaking to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Coats said the nation’s debt, up to $20.7 trillion as well as likely to escalate due to recently passed fiscal measures in Congress, must be taken seriously.

“The failure to address our long-term fiscal situation has increased the national debt to over $20 trillion as well as growing,” he said during a broader hearing over dangers posed to the U.S. “This specific situation is usually unsustainable as I think we all know, as well as represents a dire threat to our economic as well as national security.”

The debt has increased 123 percent over the past decade as the nation sought to break free of the financial crisis as well as the tepid growth which followed.

Total debt is usually at This specific point nearly 105 percent of gross domestic product, just shy of its highest level since World War II. The most recent Congressional Budget Office projections develop the trajectory leading to a debt-to-GDP ratio of 150 percent by 2047, well past the point where financial crises typically occur.

In addition, the budget deficit is usually likely to swell, with the CBO projecting an increase via 2.9 percent of GDP in 2017 to 9.8 percent in 2047.

Congress in December passed a tax reform measure likely to cost $1.5 trillion as well as earlier from the week reached a budget plan which raises spending limits by about $300 billion over the next two years.

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