WASHINGTON - Pakistan needs to be convinced that the extremist threat on its northwest is greater than India as perceived by its military, U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee during confirmation hearings, Dempsey, picked by President Barack Obama to be the next chairman of the U.S. Joints Chief of Staff, spoke of the "intellectual disagreement" between the militaries of the United States and Pakistan. "It's always been a matter of discussion between us and our Pakistan counterparts about what threats are most serious to them and to us," he said. "The Pakistanis persist in the idea that India poses an existential threat to their existence, while the terrorists that operate with some impunity in the Northwest Frontier province and in the [federally administered tribal areas] are less of a threat." Dempsey said the United States needs to continue to work in convincing the Pakistani military the extremist threat is probably greater than any threat India might pose. If the strained U.S.-Pakistan relations lead to Islamabad closing its routes for supplying troops in neighboring Afghanistan, Dempsey said the United States would need to rely more on the northern supply route, even if that is more expensive. The general, who will succeed Navy Adm. Mike Mullen to the top post if confirmed, told the senators the task ahead for the U.S. military includes completing the current conflicts. "If confirmed, I will work with the Joint Chiefs to ensure that this nation has the military it needs," Dempsey said. On reports of huge spending losses since 1996 on canceled Army programs, Dempsey said the Defense Department is at a point "where we absolutely have to seek acquisition reform." He said the department is responding to a proposed reduction of $400 billion in 12 years.