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Mullen Issues 2011 Guidance: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen has issued guidance with his priorities this year for achieving the strategic objectives articulated in the National Security Strategy. Defending "vital national interests" in the Middle East and Central Asia tops his list. This includes eroding Taliban influence in Afghanistan, working with the Pakistanis to deny al Qaeda safe haven in Pakistan, and assisting Iraqi security forces as they mature. As part of Mullen's second priority, improving the "health" of US military forces, he said he intends to issue instructions for adoption of a "Total Force Fitness" to change how the Pentagon assesses service members' well-being and effectiveness in the face of lingering emotional and physical strains of combat. His third focus area, balancing global strategic risk, calls for "maintaining a ready, forward presence and available forces to meet the full scope" of US security commitments. (Mullen guidance full text; caution, large-sized file) (See also AFPS report by Jim Garamone)