Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says America's next generation of military leaders will likely face a more dangerous world.
Mr. Rumsfeld says that someday the war on terror will end, though he concedes that may not be soon.
But speaking to the graduating class of the U.S. Naval Academy, Mr. Rumsfeld told the future Navy and Marine officers they will nonetheless face difficult and dangerous challenges.
"Possibly a world with double the number of nuclear nations, and many of those new nuclear states terrorist states, or a world with novel and still unimagined information age challenges or biological threats, or a world with still more ungoverned areas, inhabited by terrorists, hostage-takers and by drug lords," he said.
Mr. Rumsfeld, himself a former Naval aviator, told the Academy graduates that dealing with new threats will require innovation, flexibility and agility, characteristics the Defense Secretary has been calling for in pushing for a transformation of the military.
He also stressed another of his key policies, collaboration between the various military services. He said the conflicts of the 21st century will not be fought by the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps alone but by joint, combined forces working together, much as they have in the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The secretary's remarks coincided with word from U.S. military authorities in Iraq that troops have seized what may be a treasure trove of gold bars during a routine vehicle search.
There were 2,000 of the nearly 18 kilogram bars found in a truck whose two occupants said they were paid $350 to drive the truck from Baghdad to Al-Qaim.
They said they were told the bars were bronze. If they are gold, the military says the find could be worth $500 million.