Deputy SecDef: Major Role for Army in Asia-Pacific Plans
The Army will play a major role in America’s new national defense strategy, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Wednesday.
Speaking during the Association of the United States Army annual meeting, Carter said the nation has “arrived at a moment of transition” after 11 years of war.
“This transition … to the era to come is underway,” he said. “It’s reflected in the new defense strategy that we created last winter. It’s reflected in the decisions we’re still making about the future of our armed forces.”
The Army performed exceptionally well during these past 11 years of war, Carter said.
“Since Sept. 11, 2001, few organizations had to adapt as much as the U.S. military, and especially the Army,” he said. “Eleven years ago the country was called to fight enemies we didn’t fully understand in dangerous parts of the world. Our all-volunteer Army proved they were up to the challenged.”
Today’s Army is battle-hardened and strong, powerful and adaptive, Carter said, and thousands continue to serve in Afghanistan today.
The Army must now take the hard-earned lessons from the past decade and apply them as it looks to the future, he said.
“While we’ve been fighting, the world has not stood still,” he said. “Our friends and our enemies have not stood still. The time has come for us to look around and look out to what the world needs next, to the security challenges beyond Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The Army will have a major role in each tenet of the new national defense strategy, Carter said.
“The Army will once again train to conduct full-spectrum operations and a full range of operations,” he said. “We know we can count on the Army for strategic land power. It will be unrivaled in the world in capturing and holding terrain, both physical and human.”
The Army also will play a key role in the U.S. government’s plans to re-balance in the Asia-Pacific region, Carter said.
“Seven of the world’s 10 largest armies are in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said. “The Army will continue to partner and exercise with our allies in the region [and] we will build on those partnerships.”
In addition, the Army will continue to build partnerships around the world, and align its forces with the geographic combatant commanders, Carter said.
“Historians will look back on this decade and write of leaders who made difficult decisions … that changed history,” Carter said. “They’ll write of bravery and brilliance throughout the ranks, but they’ll also write about how the Army responded to a new era. The question is what kind of Army do we want? The Army has a rich history from which to draw, and I look forward to working on this next chapter.”