US DoD Feeds

Contracts For Sept. 26, 2016

DoD Contract Announcements - 1 hour 25 min ago
CONTRACTS ARMY BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Inc., Nashua, New Hampshire, was
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Department of Defense Debuts Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship, Research Grant Now Accepting Proposals

DoD News Releases - 8 hours 15 min ago
 The Department of Defense (DoD) has announced a new competition for the "Vannevar Bush Faculty
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Contracts For Sept. 23, 2016

DoD Contract Announcements - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 16:00
CONTRACTS ARMY Oshkosh Defense LLC, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was awarded a $378,137,998 modification
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Flag Officer Announcement

DoD News Releases - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 11:08
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced today that the president has made the following
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General Officer Announcements

DoD News Releases - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 09:48
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced today that the president has made the following
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Readout of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's Meeting With Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

DoD News Releases - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 16:10
 Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook provided the following readout: Secretary of Defense Ash Carter
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Contracts For Sept. 22, 2016

DoD Contract Announcements - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 16:00
 CONTRACTS ARMY DRS Network and Imaging Systems, Melbourne, Florida, was awarded a $339,305,395
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Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on U.S.-Russia Video Conference

DoD News Releases - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 15:43
 The Department of Defense today held a video conference co-chaired by Acting Assistant Secretary
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Secretary of the Navy Names Two Littoral Combat Ships

DoD News Releases - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 10:15
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today that the next Freedom and Independence variant
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Opening Statement on "U.S. National Security Challenges and Ongoing Military Operations" before the Senate Armed Services Committee

DoD Speeches - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 08:30
Opening Statement on "U.S. National Security Challenges and Ongoing Military Operations" before the Senate Armed Services Committee As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Washington, D.C., Sept. 22, 2016

Thank you very much, Chairman [McCain], Ranking Member Reed, all the members of this committee, thank you for having us here.

And Chairman, and Senator Reed, thanks for taking the time to talk with me before this hearing – much appreciated as always – and for hosting General Dunford by my side, where he is all the time. And I’m very pleased and our country is very fortunate to have him.  Similarly, I want to thank you for hosting the service chiefs last week.  I appreciated your comments to them about the inefficiencies and the dangers of continued budget instability and gridlock, as well as the risk of sequestration’s looming return.  I look forward to addressing those topics, more, today with you.

I also appreciate your support for our men and women serving around the world, military and civilian alike, you always provide it.  They are the finest fighting force the world has ever known.  They’re the – no one else in the world is stronger, no one is more capable, more innovative, more experienced, and has better friends and allies than they.  That’s a fact – a fact that Americans ought to be proud of. 

As you know, DoD is currently addressing each of the five challenges that Chairman Dunford and I described to you in our budget testimony this spring, and that the Chairman and Senator Reed already touched on – namely, Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and terrorism.  And on the last, in the wake of this week’s attacks in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota, we remain as determined as ever to continue countering terrorists around the world who seek to do harm to our country and our personnel – more on that shortly.

As Chairman Dunford and I testified this spring, we’ve been planning for our activities to be paid for by the 2017 budget that we have submitted and that we developed.  That budget adhered to last fall’s bipartisan budget deal in overall size, while in shape, it marked a strategic turning point for DoD – making breakthrough investments in new operational concepts, in pioneering technological frontiers, in reforming the DoD enterprise, and in building the force of the future.  It also put a high premium on continuing to rebuild the readiness of our forces – requiring not only stable resources, but also time.  Nothing is more important than readiness to me or to the service chiefs.  And yet today, just eight days away from the end of this fiscal year, that budget has yet to be funded by Congress.

I want to discuss that with you today, but because this hearing is partly about ongoing military operations, let me begin with an operational update on our campaign to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat.

Now, each time Chairman Dunford and I have appeared before this committee since back last October, I’ve described to you our coalition military campaign plan, which is focused on three objectives.  The first is to destroy the ISIL cancer’s parent tumor in Iraq and Syria, because the sooner we end ISIL’s occupation of territory in those countries – that is, the sooner we destroy both the fact and the idea of an Islamic state based on ISIL’s barbaric ideology – the safer all of the world will be.  And that’s necessary, absolutely necessary, it’s not sufficient.  So our second objective is to combat ISIL’s metastases everywhere they emerge around world…in Afghanistan, Libya, and elsewhere.  And our third objective is to help protect the homeland.  This is mainly the responsibility of our partners in the FBI, the Justice Department, Homeland Security, the Intelligence Community, and state and local law enforcement, but DoD strongly supports them, and I’ll address how momentarily.

Since last fall, we’ve taken many steps to continually accelerate this campaign – all consistent with our strategic approach of enabling capable, motivated local forces, for that’s the only way to ensure ISIL’s lasting defeat.  And while we have much more work to do, the results of our effort are showing.

In Iraq, we’ve been enabling the Iraqi Security Forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga.  After retaking Ramadi and establishing a staging base at Makhmour, the ISF went on to take – retake Hit, Rutbah, Fallujah, and the important airfield and town of Qayyarah – setting the stage to complete the envelopment of Mosul and the collapse ISIL’s control over it.  In the last few days, the ISF became – began operations to retake Sharqat and other towns surrounding Mosul.  And the final assault on Mosul will commence – as with previous operations – when Prime Minister Abadi gives the order.

In Syria, our coalition has also enabled considerable results by our local partners.  They retook Shaddadi – severing a key link between Raqqa and Mosul – and then Manbij City – clearing a key transit point for ISIL’s external operations and plotters, and providing key intelligence insights.  Additionally, our ally Turkey is helping local Syrian partners clear their border region [of] ISIL.  We’re working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Turks, supporting these efforts from the air, on the ground, and with intelligence.  And as we do so, we’re managing regional tensions – tensions that we’ve foreseen – and keeping everyone focused on our common enemy:  ISIL.

Meanwhile, we’re systematically eliminating ISIL’s leadership, with the coalition having taken out seven members of the ISIL Senior Shura, including its Chief of External Operations, Al-Adnani.  He was one of more than 20 ISIL external operators and plotters we’ve removed from the battlefield.  

We’re also continuing to go after ISIL’s attempts to develop chemical weapons – as we continue to ensure that U.S., coalition, and Iraqi troops are vigilantly protected from that threat.  And just last week, in one of the single largest airstrikes of our campaign, we destroyed a pharmaceutical facility near Mosul that ISIL tried to use as a chemical weapons plant.  We also continue to aggressively attack ISIL’s economic infrastructure – oil wells, tanker trucks, cash storage, and more.  And we continue to take the fight to ISIL across every domain, including cyber.

With all this, we’re putting ISIL on the path to a lasting defeat in Iraq and Syria – particularly as we embark on a decisive phase of our campaign, to collapse ISIL’s control of Mosul and Raqqa. 

With respect to the Syrian civil war, I’m gonna commend Secretary Kerry for working so tirelessly to seek an arrangement which, if implemented, would ease the suffering of the Syrian people and get Russia pushing at last for a political transition, which is the only way to end the Syrian civil war.  There remains a way to go to see if the terms of that arrangement can be implemented – unfortunately the behavior we’ve seen from Russia and Syria over the last few days has been deeply problematic.

Let me turn to our second objective, combatting ISIL’s metastases.  In Libya, thanks to U.S. precision airstrikes undertaken at the request of the Government of National Accord, ISIL’s territory in Sirte has now been reduced to a single square kilometer…and I’m confident ISIL will be ejected from there.  Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, we worked with our Afghan partners to conduct a large operation against ISIL over the last two months – dealing the organization severe blows, killing its top leader, and degrading its infrastructure, logistics base, and recruiting.  And there’ll be more coming. 

Next, to help protect our homeland and our people, DoD continues to provide strong support to our law enforcement, homeland security, and intelligence partners.  This is the number-one mission of our Northern Command.  And the U.S. military is supporting our partners in three critical ways.  First, we’re ensuring the protection of our personnel and the DoD facilities where they work and reside.  Second, we’re disrupting ISIL’s external operations – more on that shortly.  And third, we’re also disrupting the flow of foreign fighters both to and from Iraq and Syria.  This is part of a broader effort within our coalition to not only stem the flow of foreign fighters, but also counter ISIL’s online messaging, recruitment, and spread of its loathsome ideology.

Going forward, the collapse of ISIL’s control over Raqqa and Mosul – which we’re confident our coalition will achieve – will indeed put ISIL on an irreversible path to lasting defeat.  But after that, to take up a point that both the Chairman and Ranking Member Reed made, there will still be much more to do.  Political challenges will remain.  For that reason, the international coalition’s stabilization efforts cannot be allowed to lag behind our military progress.  That’s critical to making sure that ISIL, once defeated, stays defeated. 

Truly delivering ISIL a lasting defeat requires both strategic patience and persistence.  We can’t predict what will come after our coalition defeats ISIL, so we must be ready for anything – including any attempts by ISIL to remain relevant, even if only in the darkest corners of the Internet.

Let me now address issues DoD faces as an institution, and how you can help. 

We have three grave concerns related to processes here in Congress:  one, budget gridlock and instability; two, micromanagement and over-regulation; and three, denial of needed reforms.  As you’ve heard consistently from me and DoD senior leaders, all three are serious concerns.  But here today, because of how close we are to the end of the fiscal year, I want to focus just on the first.

We need Congress to come together around providing normal, stable, responsible budgets because the lack of stability represents one of the single biggest strategic risks to our enterprise at DoD.  That’s why I’ve been talking about the major risks posed by budget instability for over a year and a half.  You heard the same from the service chiefs last week. 

Such budget instability undercuts stable planning and efficient use of taxpayer dollars – often in ways taxpayers can’t even see.  It baffles our friends, emboldens our foes.  It’s managerially and strategically unsound, and it’s unfairly dispiriting to our troops, for their families, and our workforce.  And it’s inefficient for our defense industry partners, too. 

We’re now eight days away from the end of the fiscal year, but instead of stability, we’re going into Fiscal Year 2017 with yet another continuing resolution…this for the eighth fiscal year in a row.  That’s a deplorable state of affairs – and Chairman McCain, I appreciate your comments to our service chiefs about the damage a CR can do to our institution.  As you know, the longer a continuing resolution lasts, the more damaging it is.  It’s not just a matter of money, but where the dollars are.  For example, a CR that goes past December would undermine our plan to quadruple our European Reassurance Initiative at a time, as the Chairman already alluded, when we need to be standing with our NATO allies and standing up to deter Russian aggression.

I know you will return here in November to pass defense appropriations and a National Defense Authorization Act; I look forward to working with you then.  However, I cannot support any approach to the defense budget that moves us toward sequestration, or away from bipartisanship.  And not at the expense of stability that comes with it.  Not if it shortchanges the needs of our warfighters.  Not if it means funding lower priorities instead of higher priorities.  Not if it undermines confidence in the ability to pass bipartisan budget deals, which could lead to the imposition of sequestration’s $100 billion in looming, automatic cuts to us.  And not if it adds extra force structure that we can’t afford to keep ready in the long-term, which would only lead to a hollow force. 

I’m confident, and hopeful, that we can come back together again.  Today, America is fortunate to have the world’s greatest military.  I know it, you know it, our friends and allies know it, and critically, our potential adversaries know it too.  Only with your help can we ensure that my successors can say the same, and that what is today the finest fighting force the world has ever known remains that way for years to come.

Thank you.

Categories: US DoD Feeds

Submitted Statement on "U.S. National Security Challenges and Ongoing Military Operations" before the Senate Armed Services Committee

DoD Speeches - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 07:30
Submitted Statement on "U.S. National Security Challenges and Ongoing Military Operations" before the Senate Armed Services Committee As Submitted by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Washington, D.C., Sept. 22, 2016

Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed, Members of the Committee: 

Thank you for hosting me and Chairman Dunford today, and also for hosting the Chiefs of the military services last week.  I particularly appreciated your comments to them about the inefficiencies and dangers of continued budget instability and gridlock, as well as the risk of sequestration’s looming return.  I look forward to addressing those topics and more during today’s hearing.

I also appreciate your support for our men and women serving around the world, civilian and military alike, who are the finest fighting force the world has ever known.  There’s no other military that’s stronger, or more capable, or more innovative, or more experienced, or with better friends and allies.  That’s a fact – one that every American ought to be proud of. 

As you know, the Department of Defense is currently addressing each of the five major, immediate, evolving challenges we face, which Chairman Dunford and I discussed with you during our budget testimony this past spring – challenges from Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and terrorism.  And on that note, in the wake of this week’s attacks in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota, we remain absolutely determined, as ever, to continue countering terrorists around the world who would seek to do harm to our country and our people.

We don’t have the luxury of choosing between these challenges, which is why American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are working with partners from our worldwide coalition in more ways and with more power every day to accelerate the lasting defeat of ISIL, which we will surely do and want to do soon.  They’re also training and operating with our NATO allies in Europe to deter Russian aggression.  They’re sailing the waters of the Asia-Pacific as part of a principled and inclusive network of nations – ensuring that the most consequential region for America’s future remains stable, secure, and prosperous for all nations.  They’re standing guard 24/7 on the Korean Peninsula, helping strengthen our deterrent and defenses in the face of North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations.  They’re countering Iran’s destabilizing influence against our friends and allies in the Middle East.  All the while, they’re helping protect our people here at home and helping to make a better world for our children.  And they’re preparing to contend with an uncertain future – ensuring we continue to stay the best and stay ahead in a changing and competitive world.

As Chairman Dunford and I testified not only to this committee, but to all four of our defense oversight committees in the spring, we’ve been planning for these operations to be paid for by the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 defense budget we developed.  And this budget not only adhered to last fall’s bipartisan budget deal in overall size; in shape, it marked a strategic turning point for DoD – making and sharpening breakthrough investments in supporting new operational concepts, in pioneering and dominating technological frontiers, in reforming the DoD enterprise, and in building the force of the future.  That budget also put an extremely high premium on continued funding to rebuild the readiness of our forces – requiring not only stable resources, but also time – the importance of which you heard about from the Chiefs last week.  Nothing is more important than readiness to me or them.  And yet today, just eight days away from the end of this fiscal year and the beginning of the next, that budget has yet to be funded by Congress – another topic, and a challenge, that I’ll address in greater detail shortly.

Because this hearing is focused in part on ongoing military operations, let me begin with an operational update focusing specifically on our campaign to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat.

 

Counter-ISIL Operational Update

In each of the four times that Chairman Dunford and I have appeared before this committee since last October, I walked you through how we were continually accelerating this campaign – starting with outlining our coalition military campaign plan, which is focused on three objectives that I’ve stressed consistently.

The first objective is to destroy the ISIL cancer’s parent tumor in Iraq and Syria.  ISIL’s occupation of territory in those countries threatens not only the lives of the Iraqi and Syrian peoples and the stability of that vitally important region, but also the security of our own citizens and those of our friends and allies.  That means the sooner we defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria – the sooner we destroy both the fact and the idea of an Islamic state based on ISIL’s barbaric ideology – the safer all of us will be.  That’s why we’re applying simultaneous pressure on ISIL from multiple directions and across domains – on the ground, from the air, and in cyberspace.  We’re doing all this consistent with our strategic approach, which is to enable capable, motivated, local forces – for that is the only way to defeat ISIL and keep them defeated, ensuring a lasting defeat. 

Now, while defeating ISIL in Iraq and Syria is necessary, it’s not sufficient.

Indeed, we know this cancer can metastasize, and in some cases it already has.  This brings me to the second objective of our coalition military campaign plan, which is to combat ISIL’s metastases around world.  And that’s why U.S. and coalition forces are engaged in supporting capable, motivated local forces in operations against ISIL in Afghanistan, in Libya, and elsewhere, and in countering ISIL across the intangible geography and terrain of the Internet. 

Our third objective is to help protect the homeland.  Here, recent events continue to emphasize the importance of this mission.  This is mainly the responsibility of our partners in the FBI, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Intelligence Community, and state and local law enforcement.  But DoD strongly supports them in a number of important ways that I’ll describe in more detail later in this testimony.

Now, as I noted, Chairman Dunford and I have seen you several times since last October, when we first described to you our plan to accelerate the campaign against ISIL.  And since then, we’ve taken a great many steps to do just that.  As we take advantage of new opportunities generated by new intelligence, newly trained partners, and strikes against ISIL leaders, infrastructure, and finances, we’re generating more new opportunities, and then seizing those opportunities to repeat this cycle – reinforcing success.  And I should note that every time Chairman Dunford and I have recommended additional accelerating actions to President Obama, he has approved them.

Let me briefly remind you of the initial steps we took beginning last fall to start accelerating the campaign.  First, we deployed additional strike aircraft to Incirlik to support an expanded air campaign against new targets and new categories of targets illuminated by refined intelligence.  We deployed an initial contingent of special operations forces to Syria.  We expanded efforts to equip Syrian Arab Coalition forces engaged in the fight against ISIL.  We began enabling capable, motivated local forces in southern Syria as well, and enhancing Jordan’s own border control and defenses.  We leveraged air power and advisors to help the Peshmerga take Sinjar, cutting the Iraqi side of the main line of communication between ISIL’s power centers in Raqqa and Mosul.  We introduced an expeditionary targeting force to go after ISIL leaders wherever they may be attempting to hide.  We worked to improve our ability to target ISIL’s leadership and presence beyond Iraq and Syria.  We started to expand the military campaign against ISIL to every domain, including cyber.  We stepped up our homeland defense and force protection measures to counter any additional threats to our facilities and our personnel at home and abroad.  We began precision strikes against ISIL senior leaders and training camps in Libya – removing ISIL’s leader there, Abu Nabil, for instance.  And we went after ISIL in Afghanistan.

These were followed this past spring and summer with even more accelerants.  In Iraq, in close coordination with the Iraqi government, I announced we would be adding additional personnel there to enable the Iraqis to make faster progress in Anbar and Ninewa Provinces.  I also announced that we would be placing advisors with the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) down to the brigade and battalion level; leveraging Apache attack helicopters to support the ISF’s efforts to envelop and then retake Mosul; sending additional High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) batteries to support the Iraqi ground offensive there; and, providing financial assistance to the Peshmerga, up to $415 million, to bolster one of the most effective fighting forces against ISIL.  Meanwhile, in Syria, we announced a six-fold increase of U.S. forces there, from 50 to 300, to help expand ongoing efforts to identify, train, and equip capable, motivated local anti-ISIL forces inside Syria, especially among the Sunni Arab community.  And in addition to initiating training inside Syria, we’ve also continued to refine our train-and-equip efforts of other vetted Syrian forces outside of Syria, using the important authorities and funding provided to us by Congress under the Section 1209 program – and here, as I’ve described to you before, we’re keeping our focus on battle-hardened, proven anti-ISIL leaders whom we could make more capable as enablers and amplifiers of our effects.

At the same time, in addition to accelerating the campaign with more U.S. capabilities, we renewed our outreach to coalition members, including in Europe, in the Middle East, and in Asia.  And over the last nine months, I’ve convened my counterparts several times – in Paris, Brussels, Riyadh, Stuttgart, and here in Washington this past July – not only to rally them behind the campaign plan and the next steps in its execution, but above all to urge them to contribute more, and in more meaningful ways.  As we’ve done more, so have our partners.  That collaboration will continue.

In sum, we steadily executed the campaign plan and first set of plays we devised and I described to this committee many months ago.  Now we’re on to the next plays in our campaign, which you’ll recall Chairman Dunford and I previewed for you in April, and are now underway – more on that in a moment.

Because the acceleration of our campaign has continued since then, I’d like to now update you on the latest results of the coalition’s military campaign, as well as what we will need to do going forward.

Destroying ISIL’s Parent Tumor

Let me begin with our first objective, destroying ISIL’s parent tumor in Iraq and Syria.  Here, since last fall – town after town, from every direction, and in every domain – our campaign and operations have accelerated, pressuring and squeezing ISIL, and rolling it back towards Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.  While we have much more work to do – including to collapse ISIL’s control over Mosul and Raqqa – the results of our efforts are showing.

In Iraq, we’ve been enabling the Iraqi Security Forces led by Prime Minister Abadi and the Kurdish Peshmerga commanded by Iraqi Kurdistan Regional President Barzani.  After retaking Ramadi and establishing a staging base at Makhmour, the ISF went on to retake Hit, Rutbah, Fallujah, and the important airfield and town of Qayyarah – setting the stage to complete the envelopment and isolation of Mosul and collapse ISIL’s control over it.  In the last few days, the ISF began operations to retake Sharqat and other towns surrounding Mosul.  And the final assault on Mosul will commence – as with previous operations – when Prime Minister Abadi gives the order.  In the meantime, the coalition has been actively laying the groundwork with the generation of necessary Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Peshmerga, preparation of staging areas, and positioning of our strike assets to cover the assaulting Iraqi and Kurdish forces.  In close coordination with the Iraqi government, these efforts are being bolstered by the addition of 560 U.S. troops I announced in July.  And we stand ready to contribute even more, in consultation with our Iraqi partners.

In Syria, our coalition has also enabled considerable results by our local partners.  There, local forces retook Shaddadi – severing a key link between Raqqa and Mosul, and thereby ISIL in Iraq and ISIL in Syria – and then Manbij City – clearing a key transit point for ISIL’s external operators and plotters, and letting us gain intelligence insights that have helped us map ISIL’s network of foreign fighters.  Additionally, our ally Turkey is helping local Syrian partners clear the Turkish-Syrian border region of ISIL.  We’re working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Turks, supporting those efforts from the air, on the ground, and with intelligence, and we will continue to coordinate with them as we have with all of our partners so far.  And in that regard, I welcome the Turkish government’s comments about the importance of working with local partners.

As we do all this, we are managing challenges that we’ve foreseen, including friction between some of our partners and also political instability.  That’s why our forces and commanders on the ground and in the region remain laser-focused on overcoming these challenges, so we can continue to accelerate our campaign. 

Indeed, even with the considerable results achieved so far, we are not letting up.  Across both Iraq and Syria, our coalition continues to pressure ISIL in several key ways. 

We’re systematically eliminating ISIL’s leadership: the coalition has taken out seven members of the ISIL Senior Shura – including ISIL’s Minister of War, Omar al-Shishani; ISIL’s Finance Minister, Hajji Iman; ISIL’s Minister of Information, Dr. Wa’il; and ISIL’s Chief of External Operations, Abu Muhamad Al-Adnani, who was one of ISIL’s most lethal leaders and was actively plotting to kill civilians abroad.  We also removed key ISIL leaders in both Libya and Afghanistan.  Wherever our local partners have advanced, we’ve taken out ISIL field commanders.  And we’ve removed from the battlefield more than 20 of ISIL’s external operators and plotters, including Jihadi John and Junaid Hussein, among others.

Beyond key ISIL personnel, we’re continuing to go after key ISIL capabilities, including its attempts to develop chemical weapons.  As you know, we previously captured one of the principals of ISIL’s chemical warfare enterprise, and just last week, in one of the single largest airstrikes of our campaign, we destroyed a former pharmaceutical facility near Mosul that ISIL tried to use as a chemical weapons plant.  Meanwhile, we’re also continuing to aggressively attack the economic infrastructure that ISIL uses to fund its operations – from oil wells and tanker trucks to cash storage sites and key financial centers.   And we continue to take the fight to ISIL across every domain, including cyber.

All of this together underscores how we are putting ISIL on the path to a lasting defeat in Iraq and Syria.  And we are now launching a decisive phase of our campaign, as the plays we’re currently executing culminate in the isolation and collapse of ISIL’s control over Raqqa and Mosul. 

Now, we aren’t yet releasing the full operational details of these plays in public.  That’s because – as I told troops from the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg in July before they deployed to lead our operations in Iraq and Syria under the command of Lieutenant General Steve Townsend – we don’t want the enemy to know too much about what we’re doing, what we’re thinking, and where we’re going and when.  But I do want to broadly describe the basic elements to you, as I did with our troops in July.

In Syria, operations are focused on shutting down the last remaining paths for ISIL fighters to move into and out of that country – particularly when it comes to their external operators – and then on generating forces and preparing them for the envelopment of Raqqa.  We’re seeking to expand on recent gains of our local, capable partners in Manbij City, along the Mar’a Line, and elsewhere in Northern Syria to help them ensure ISIL cannot control that key terrain.  And in addition, we will aggressively pursue opportunities to build pressure on ISIL in Syria from the south, complementing our existing robust efforts from northeastern Syria.

In Iraq, our actions in the western part of the country are focused on enabling the ISF to pursue mopping-up operations along the Euphrates River Valley – in order to clear the remaining pockets of ISIL presence, push the ISIL threat farther away from Baghdad, and help the government of Iraq reassert not only full control over its borders, but also control over some of its main lines of communications.  In the north, we’re continuing to help the ISF clear the remaining pockets of ISIL control along the Tigris River Valley leading up to Mosul.  And we’ve been helping the ISF and Kurdish Peshmerga to refit and generate the forces and logistical footprint necessary for their joint efforts to isolate and pressure Mosul, approaching from both the north and the south.

Meanwhile, as this isolation and pressure on Raqqa and Mosul continues to build from the outside in, our partners will continue to reach deep inside those cities to pressure ISIL from the inside out. 

It’s already becoming clear that with the simultaneity of operations and pressure coalition forces are applying across Iraq and Syria, ISIL will simply no longer be able to resist.  And while ISIL is still a dangerous adversary and its lasting defeat will take time, we will continue to gather momentum until ISIL is defeated. 

Finally, with respect to the Syrian civil war, I commend Secretary Kerry for working so tirelessly to seek an arrangement which, if implemented, would ease the suffering of the Syrian people and get Russia pushing for a political transition, which is the only way to end the Syrian civil war.  There remains a ways to go to see if the terms of that arrangement will be implemented – unfortunately the behavior we’ve seen from Russia and Syria over the last few days is deeply problematic.

Combatting ISIL’s Metastases

This brings me to the results in our campaign’s second objective, combatting ISIL’s metastases everywhere they appear around the world – particularly in Libya and Afghanistan.  I will address these in turn.

A few months ago, Chairman Dunford and I expressed concern that if left untended, Libya could be the next ISIL headquarters, as ISIL’s control over the city of Sirte was seen as their contingency plan for where they would go when they lost Raqqa and Mosul.  But because the President authorized us to act, ISIL is now under tremendous pressure there, with its territory in Sirte reduced to a single square kilometer.  Indeed, after some 50 days of supporting capable, motivated local forces fighting ISIL in its safe haven of Sirte, coalition operations – including with airstrikes at the request of Libyan Government of National Accord Prime Minister Sarraj – have shrunk ISIL’s territory to a single neighborhood.  I’m confident ISIL will be ejected from Sirte, and that we will keep looking for opportunities to combat ISIL in Libya; however, it is important to note that these are the military results.  As we’ve known from the beginning, political progress will have to follow, including reconciliation, to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat in Libya.

Let me now turn to Afghanistan, where we continue to counter terrorists – both ISIL and al-Qaeda – as well as help support and strengthen the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), which has the lead in fighting the Taliban and other terrorists within Afghanistan’s borders. 

Working with our Afghan partners, we conducted a large operation against ISIL in Afghanistan over the last two months – dealing it severe blows, including killing its top leader, Hafiz Sayed Khan, and 11 other ISIL leaders, as well as degrading the organization’s infrastructure, logistics base, and recruiting.  There will be more to come in short order. 

Meanwhile, more broadly, the U.S. military continues to execute its two missions in Afghanistan – countering terrorism, and helping train, advise, and assist the ANDSF as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.  As you know, President Obama approved our requests earlier this year to retain a more substantial U.S. force presence into 2017, to enhance the authorities of our ground commanders, and to maintain our financial commitment to the ANDSF through 2020.  This will lead to positive effects.  Indeed, while challenges remain – including political challenges – we’re increasingly seeing the ANDSF undertake unilateral missions against ISIL and other targets on their own accord, with U.S.-provided equipment. 

Helping Protect our Homeland and our People

Meanwhile, DoD continues to provide strong support to our partners in the FBI, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Intelligence Community, and state and local law enforcement to help protect our homeland and our people.  This is the number-one mission of our Northern Command.  And here the U.S. military is supporting our partners in three critical ways.

First, we’re ensuring the force protection for our troops and the DoD facilities where they work and reside – both on base, and the thousands of off-base installations we operate.  Last summer’s tragedy in Chattanooga underscored how ISIL seeks to target U.S. troops and DoD civilians, which is why we’re putting in place stronger physical security systems, including stronger entry controls, better alarm systems, reinforced doors, additional ways to safely exit our facilities, and more.  And we continue to look for more ways to improve and strengthen our force protection.

Second, we’re disrupting ISIL’s external operations and its ability to conduct such operations.  As I discussed earlier, our operations to destroy ISIL’s parent tumor directly support this effort, where we’ve removed dozens of ISIL external operators from the battlefield – including, as I mentioned earlier in this testimony, ISIL’s Chief of External Operations, Abu Muhamad Al-Adnani.  We have entrusted this aspect of our campaign to one of DoD’s most lethal, capable, and experienced commands, our Joint Special Operations Command, which helped deliver justice not only to Osama Bin Laden, but also to the man who founded the organization that became ISIL, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi.

Third, we’re also disrupting the flow of foreign fighters both to and from Iraq and Syria.  Here, as I discussed earlier, we’ve not only been supporting capable, motivated local forces in Syria that have retaken cities that were key transit hubs for foreign fighters in northern Syria, but we’ve also been supporting Turkish military operations intended to seal the border with Syria and prevent foreign fighters from exploiting that border to conduct attacks against our European allies and our homeland.  In recent months especially, our support of these operations has allowed us to gain new intelligence insights into ISIL’s networks of foreign fighters – networks we are determined to destroy.  In addition, we’ve worked with our coalition partners in a standing task force located in the region that looks at publically-available information and cross-checks it against our government’s various databases to identify potential ISIL cells and foreign fighter facilitation networks.  This is part of a broader effort within our coalition to not only stem the flow of foreign fighters, but also to counter ISIL’s online messaging, recruitment, and the spread of its loathsome ideology.

Going Forward in the Counter-ISIL Campaign

Looking to the future, the collapse of ISIL’s control over Raqqa and Mosul – which we’re confident our coalition will achieve – will put ISIL on an irreversible path to a lasting defeat.  But, even when the coalition wins this fight – and let there be no doubt that we will – there will still be much more to do.  There will be towns to rebuild, services to reestablish, and communities to restore.  Political challenges will remain.  So when that time comes, the international community must ensure that the Iraqi and Syrian people have what they need to hold, stabilize, and govern their own territory.  For that reason, the international coalition’s humanitarian, stabilization, and governance efforts cannot be allowed to lag behind our military progress.

Additionally, we must ensure that ISIL isn’t able to take root in other parts of Iraq, and that the ISF and the Peshmerga are able to sustain the gains we’ve made with them.  Such progress is critical to making our partners’ gains enduring, and ensuring that ISIL, once defeated, stays defeated. 

Truly delivering ISIL a lasting defeat requires both strategic patience and strategic persistence.  Even when ISIL is defeated militarily, our coalition will still have work to do.  We can’t predict what will come afterward, so we must be ready for anything – including for any attempts by ISIL to remain relevant, even if only on the darkest corners of the Internet.  And we will continue to support our law enforcement, homeland security, and intelligence partners in helping protect our homeland and our people.

 

How Congress Can Help – Avoiding the Biggest Strategic Dangers to Defense

Let me now turn to some issues that we in DoD face as an institution – not only in addressing the challenge posed by ISIL, but in addressing all of the five challenges I mentioned earlier, and ensuring our military’s continued unrivaled breadth and strength into the future – and how you can help. 

These issues are grave concerns to us that we see manifested in processes here in Congress, and they are threefold: the first is budget gridlock and instability; the second, micromanagement and over-regulation; and the third concern is the continued denial of needed reforms.  Instead of these, we need budget stability achieved through bipartisanship.  We need relief from over-regulation and micromanagement.  And we need more regard and respect for the considered judgment of DoD’s most senior military and civilian leaders.

As you’ve heard from me and DoD senior leaders in meetings, messages, and conversations, these are serious concerns.  I could spend a lot of time focusing on each one, and I look forward to doing so when you return in November to work on passing an NDAA – hopefully one the President can sign.  But here, at this hearing, I want to focus on the first concern, since the fiscal year ends in eight days.

Avoiding Budget Instability and Gridlock

We need Congress to come together around providing normal, stable, responsible budgets – that is, appropriations – because lack of stability represents one of the single biggest strategic risks to our DoD enterprise.  I’ve been talking to you for over a year and a half about the major risks posed by budget instability.  That was why I supported last fall’s bipartisan budget deal, and why DoD’s budget for FY 2017 reflected that deal.  Now the time has come to begin that fiscal year, and I can only tell you the same thing:  that budget instability is the greatest risk we face.  You heard the same from our Service Chiefs last week. 

Such instability is exactly the kind of dysfunction that undercuts stable planning and efficient use of taxpayer dollars – often in ways taxpayers can’t even see.  It makes planning for the fight extremely difficult for our warfighters and commanders, including in our campaign to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat.  It baffles our friends, and emboldens foes.  It’s managerially and strategically unsound, not to mention unfairly dispiriting to our troops and their families, and our workforce – all of whom deserve better, and deserve more predictability, to say the least.  Not only our people; our defense industry partners, too, need stability and longer-term plans to be as efficient and cutting-edge as we need them to be.  And even with the modicum of stability we got in last fall’s budget deal, we still face the greatest risk of all to DoD in the eyes of all of us in the leadership – a return to sequestration funding levels, with $100 billion in looming, automatic cuts beginning next year if this isn’t fixed.  Those cuts, as you heard last week, are a major concern for our Service Chiefs, and for me as well.  And I am concerned that the gimmickry we are seeing around defense funding this year will invite the return of sequestration rather than make it less likely – because it signals that bipartisan compromises are not respected.

We’re now eight days away from the end of the fiscal year, but instead of stability, we’re going into FY 2017 with yet another continuing resolution (CR).  This will be the eighth fiscal year in a row that’s started with a continuing resolution.  That’s a deplorable state of affairs in itself, as this committee has made clear – and Chairman McCain, I appreciate your comments to our Service Chiefs about the damage a CR does to our institution, as I appreciate that this committee has been among the leaders in advocating for both the resources needed for defense and the timely appropriations we need to execute our mission.

As you know and as you heard from the Chiefs last week, the longer a continuing resolution lasts, the more damaging it is – it makes the obvious mistake of having us do this year exactly what we did last year, despite the fact that we’re trying to evolve and innovate to stay ahead in a changing world.  It’s not just a matter of money, but where the dollars are.  For example, even a short-term CR slows our shipbuilding program, which is line appropriated, thereby preventing the Navy from moving forward on key programs and capabilities.  And it gets worse after three months – for example, the FY 2017 defense budget quadrupled funding for our European Reassurance Initiative in order to help deter Russian aggression, but a continuing resolution extending past December would undermine our ability to build up prepositioned stocks of equipment and warfighting gear in the countries of our NATO allies.  That would have great strategic consequences.

If that weren’t enough, the risk of instability is only half my concern for DoD’s budget – the other is that our budget stability is also being subjected to risk through diversions of funds.

As you know, last fall’s bipartisan budget deal set the size of our budget for FY 2017.  While there was a difference between what we got in the budget deal and what we had proposed in the year prior, we determined we could mitigate that difference and still meet our needs, so we accordingly submitted our defense budget to reflect the bipartisan budget deal.  Within a matter of months, however, some in Congress reintroduced instability by departing from the bipartisan budget deal and trying to come up with ways to go around it.  I cannot support these approaches, and I’d like to tell you why.

In the first approach, the House is diverting $18 billion from our overseas operations funds at a time when we have troops deployed in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and using the money for things DoD didn’t ask for and in many cases cannot afford to maintain and keep ready over time.  To do this – diverting warfighting funds at a time of war – is highly objectionable.  It harms the readiness of our troops in order to buy more force structure that we can’t afford to keep ready in the first place.  It could overtax DoD by up to $30 billion over the next five years, at the same time that we may be facing $100 billion in sequestration cuts.  It risks exacerbating our readiness challenges and creating hollow force structure.  And it threatens to unravel last fall’s bipartisan budget deal, again raising the specter of sequestration.

If this is allowed to happen, there is no way I can tell a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine who’s accelerating ISIL’s lasting defeat or deterring Russian aggression that we’re doing all we can for them here in Washington.  Not when Congress can’t pass timely appropriations.  And certainly not when Congress diverts defense dollars from what should be inviolable:  American troops deployed in harm’s way.  Those troops need to know that they’re getting every resource they need to accomplish their mission.  To take away from them goes too far – especially when emerging operational demands may soon require more resources than DoD initially budgeted for, not less. 

The backers of the House approach say they’re doing it to help our readiness, but it would actually have the opposite effect on readiness.  As you heard from the Service Chiefs last week and as you heard from me earlier in this testimony, nothing is more important to us than readiness, which is why it was the highest priority we had in preparing the 2017 defense budget – partly to rebuild full-spectrum readiness after 15 years of counterinsurgency operations, and partly to restore damage done to readiness over the last several years that was caused by the effects of sequestration cuts.  As the Chiefs made clear to you, the problems we’re fixing are different in each service – the Army needs time to put soldiers through full-spectrum brigade-level training rotations at its Combat Training Centers; for the Marine Corps, the issue is principally restoring readiness in aviation; for the Navy, it’s ship depot maintenance; and for the Air Force, it’s about maintaining readiness while remaining at a high operational tempo.  Each of these shows how restoring readiness is not just about money; it also requires time, which the Chiefs told you as well.  And all of this underscores why what the House seeks to do would actually hurt readiness:  because it risks the stability provided by last fall’s bipartisan budget deal, and it would actually give us higher end-strength for one year – that is, more people – whom we cannot afford to keep ready in the long-term.

Others in Congress took a different approach, but I cannot support theirs either.  In this case, one of the defense appropriations committees cut high-priority investments that we should be making in high-end capabilities, and then spent more money on lower-priority things we didn’t ask for and already have enough of. 

While these cuts are less than $18 billion and do not take away from our warfighting funds, they still add up in ways that could seriously imperil our future strength.  For example, this committee chose to gut funding for undersea drones – crippling our efforts to leverage unmanned technology to ensure our forces’ global freedom of action and delivery of new payloads despite other nations’ attempts to deny access to certain operating areas.  They cut proven programs like the submarine-hunting P-8, a maritime patrol aircraft that prevents adversaries from using modern undersea technologies against us.  They made significant cuts to some of our highest-priority electronic warfare systems, the Next-Generation Jammer and the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program – handicapping our planes’ future airborne electronic attack capabilities, and leaving our surface ships more vulnerable to advanced missile threats.  They cut the critical core out of advanced munitions programs needed to increase our Navy’s lethality – both the maritime-strike version of the Tomahawk  cruise missile, and the new, highly-lethal anti-ship mode for one of our most modern and capable munitions, the SM-6  missile.  And on top of that, committees in both the House and Senate made cuts to critical defense innovation spearheads that we need to maintain our military’s technological edge and counter some of the most vexing threats we face – taking away funding from our Strategic Capabilities Office, our partnership with In-Q-Tel, and our tech startup, the Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental (DIUx).

Now, I don’t believe there was ill-will here, but these were cuts to investments highly prioritized by DoD’s senior military and civilian leaders, substituting lower-priority spending we didn’t ask for.  And we oppose each of them, because they undermine our preparations to counter and stay ahead of our competitors’ technological advances.  I’ve seen the constant temptation over the years to starve new and future-oriented defense investments in favor of more established and therefore well-entrenched programs.  In a rapidly changing and competitive world, we must resist this temptation.

Rather than funding these investments in lethality and innovation that were among our highest priorities for sharpening our military edge and staying ahead of our adversaries, Congress wants instead to buy things like an extra Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), which we didn’t request.  These ships have important uses, but we already bought 26, with 14 more on the way, and we do not need more.  We have much greater needs:  we need the undersea drones, advanced munitions, electronic warfare capabilities, P-8s, and innovation initiatives these measures would cut.

Of course, there are other proposals which again do not comport with last fall’s bipartisan budget deal.  Having rejected the two approaches I just discussed, I also have to say – as you’ve heard me emphasize for the last year and a half – that I cannot support any third approach that moves us toward sequestration, or that moves us away from bipartisanship.  Not at the expense of budget stability.  Not if it shortchanges the needs of our warfighters.  Not if it means funding lower priorities instead of higher priorities.  Not if it undermines confidence in the ability to pass bipartisan budget deals, which could lead to the imposition of sequestration’s $100 billion in looming, automatic cuts.  And not if it adds extra force structure that we cannot afford to keep ready in the long-term and that would only lead to a hollow force.

 

Conclusion – The Need for Bipartisan Budget Stability

I appreciate that this committee didn’t follow either of those two approaches, but as conference negotiations continue, I must emphasize that what we need most is stability – it’s critical in order for DoD and our people to address all the national security challenges we face.

I am confident, and hopeful, that we can come back together again.  Today, America is fortunate to have the world’s strongest, most capable, most innovative military.  I know it, you know it, our friends and allies know it, and critically, our potential adversaries know it too.  Only with your help can we ensure that my successors can say the same, and that what is today the finest fighting force the world has ever known remains that way for years and generations to come.

Thank you.

Categories: US DoD Feeds

Department of Defense Identifies Navy Casualty

DoD News Releases - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 02:00
 The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation
Categories: US DoD Feeds

Remarks Honoring Senator Carl Levin and Senator John Warner

DoD Speeches - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 16:07
Remarks Honoring Senator Carl Levin and Senator John Warner As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Pentagon Hall of Heroes, Sept. 21, 2016

Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you so much for being here and…to join me in what is a great privilege – and that is to honor Senators Carl Levin and John Warner today.  And also, I want to welcome Carl’s wife Barbara, his brother Congressman Sandy – where is…where’d Sandy go?  Ah, thank you, I know you have to leave early and tend to business on the Hill.  Budget business, I assume – budget business is good.  John’s wife Jeanne – Jeanne, thank you for being here.  John’s son John, his aptly named daughter Virginia, and his brother Charles – all to the Pentagon, thank you.  And I’m very glad to be joined by Jim Clapper, DoD leaders and Congressional leaders past and present, and so many long-time friends of all of us.

We’re here today to honor two extraordinary senators and statesmen.  Now, Carl himself has called these two friends an “odd couple,” but what makes Carl and John different pales in comparison to all they share, including their uncompromising dedication to our nation’s defense and our men and women in uniform. 

For that commitment, for their leadership on the Senate Armed Service Committee, and for their continued support for DoD, we’re dedicating today the Levin-Warner Legislative Affairs Suite to them. 

And we’re also giving John our highest award, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.  Now, I’d liked to have awarded Carl that as well at the same time, but he’s so deserving he received that award a few years ago.  But John, as worthy as you and your service are, I was surprised you haven’t received it yet, but now, I’m honored to give you something that you so richly deserve.

Now, it might seem odd to some of you that a Secretary of Defense would choose to honor two former members of Congress in this way.  But it shouldn’t seem strange – it shouldn’t seem strange.  And that’s because our defense is so vital that we must shepherd it from strategic era to strategic era, from administration to administration, from congress to congress, across parties, and across our government. 

And we have to do that together – following the example set by John and Carl.  They’re a model for bipartisan leadership on national defense and for partnership between branches of government.  They demonstrate an unwavering dedication to our personnel in uniform, on the battlefield and here at home.  And they are examples of civility in public debate and discourse.

That last one is particularly important.  That’s because our troops need to be able to look up to their leaders here in Washington and see strength and consistency and respect, as well as a loyalty to – and caring for – them and our country’s future.  And they could always look up and see the two of you.

The American people also need to be able to look to Congress and the Pentagon and be confident in the institutions dedicated to our national security.  And our friends and allies around the world need to see in Washington a commitment to the strength and to the principles that the United States has long represented.  And our foes need to see power and determination.

Through their example and their leadership, Carl and John ushered us out of the Cold War and helped us address the opportunities and challenges of the post-9/11 world.  They also ably represented their states’ needs while considering the broader interests of our nation and our military. 

And that’s not always easy, but they took the long view when ensuring our nation’s defense.  And they appreciated how today’s challenges fall into the long arc of our nation’s history, and that there’s much to be gained by considering history’s lessons when developing today’s policies…and planning for our future.

Their example is important today as the Defense Department today, right now, right here faces a new strategic era with no fewer than five major, immediate, and evolving challenges: countering the prospect of Russian aggression and coercion, especially in Europe; managing historic change in the vital Asia-Pacific region; strengthening our deterrent and defense forces in the face of North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations; checking Iranian aggression and malign influence in the Gulf; and accelerating the certain defeat of ISIL in its parent tumor in Iraq and Syria and everywhere it might metastasize around the world.

As we confront these five challenges, I’m grateful – and we should all be grateful – that ours is the finest fighting force the world has ever known.  There’s no one stronger, there’s no one more capable…because our military edge is second-to-none.  That’s a fact that every American ought to be proud of, and a fact that every American should thank statesmen like Carl and John for.  In their years on the Senate Armed Services Committee, they sharpened our military edge and helped us stay ahead of our adversaries – ensuring that we were not only ready to address current threats and challenges, but also poised for future success. 

They did so because they wanted the best for our men and women in uniform.  They did so because they believed in our mission.  And they did so because they understood that no – no matter what tomorrow brings, the world will require sustained American leadership. And while we don’t get to choose the challenges we face today, we can prepare for tomorrow by setting a strategic course, establishing defense priorities, and making the right investments.

Doing so requires cooperation and coordination across the government, but in particular, it requires a partnership between Congress and the DoD – and strong partnerships within Congress itself.  

Time and again, Carl and John were those kinds of partners, on smart and collaborative reform, with their measured and responsible oversight, and on the NDAA, which they helped pass on a bipartisan basis for over three decades and were matched – which were matched by corresponding appropriations.  As partners, as SASC chairmen, and as individual senators they helped make our department a better department and our military stronger.

For his part, Carl was called “Mr. Integrity” when he was in the Senate.  Over his 36 years in the Capitol, he made a mark on domestic and foreign policy, but he’s best known in this building for his years on the Senate Armed Services Committee.  One Senator said of his leadership there, “Why can’t the rest of the Senate work the way the Armed Services Committee works?” He answered, the Senate – …that individual answered his own question and said that the Senate doesn’t have “enough Carl Levins.” 

Explaining why – on Carl’s retirement in 2014 – the SASC never let disagreements stop it from doing its business, current Chairman John McCain said simply, “Carl won’t let us.”  Indeed, every day he served, he always put our country – and our troops – first…right up until his last day in office.  He was even late to his own retirement party – I understand – because he was busy managing the NDAA on the Senate floor.

A few years ago, Carl told some public policy students back home in his beloved state Michigan, that even “if issues change,” he said, “principles do not.”  Time and again, when the nation and DoD faced a new challenge, Carl was there…doing his homework, getting ground truth from war zones, providing the patience and persistence needed for principled oversight. 

As threats changed, Carl became a leading voice on counterterrorism.  As our missions changed and as technology, industry, and innovation evolved, Carl advocated for acquisition reform that benefited both our warfighters and our taxpayers.  And as times and the fights changed, Carl was always a tireless guardian for our troops and veterans, supporting their needs on and off the battlefield – repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” passing the Wounded Warrior Act, and getting body armor to troops in Iraq.

Carl, for all this, your SASC leadership, your dogged work for our people, and your personal friendship, we honor you, and we thank you. 

And you had a good partner in John Warner.  As a member of the Greatest Generation and a native of Virginia, a state that has given our nation so many great leaders, Senator John Warner knows what it means to be a public servant: he served his country – in uniform, at the Pentagon, or on Capitol Hill – through every single conflict since World War II.

During World War II, he enlisted as young sailor.  When the war in Korea broke out, he left law school to fight bravely as a Marine Corps officer.  During the Vietnam War, he led the Department of the Navy – first as an Undersecretary and later as Secretary. 

And from the Cold War to the first Gulf War to the Balkans and on to Iraq and Afghanistan, John served as a leading member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, including several years as chairman.  

On his time as chairman, John said, he saw his first responsibility as “towards my nation, not politics and particularly [to] the men and women of the armed forces and their families.”  That was clear in all he helped get done for our people and for our great institution. 

Thanks to his leadership, our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines – and their families – can rely on TRICARE, the Goldwater-Nichols Act helped reform how our organization works, and the GI Bill was enhanced.  And he was an earlier – early champion for nuclear stability and safety, including the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, as the Cold War was coming to an end.

Now, John may not remember this, but he and some of his colleagues invited me, who was a relative nobody in nuclear physics at that time, to a trip with them related to their work.  It was a fascinating time in history, but what I remember most in those years – many years ago now – is how John treated me and everyone around him. 

He was encouraging and respectful to me, a complete novice, and he was as respectful of me as he was of some of the national and international leaders with whom we met.   

That meant a great deal to one young person who was interested in public service, but it’s also a lesson that’s stayed with me throughout my career.  Some of the most important and profound connections we make in these positions happen far from the committee rooms and the Sunday shows, the bilateral meetings and the public eye.  Those moments of inspiration, John, usually only occur when one person is paying attention.

John, as one person you inspired long ago and on behalf of the many others whom you have inspired then and inspire today, it’s my great honor to present the Distinguished Public Service Award to you today, which we’ll do in just a moment.  On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, and on behalf of a grateful nation, thank you, John.  Both in and out of uniform, you’ve dedicated your career – and your life – to serving this great nation.

Now, in addition to honoring John and Carl’s remarkable careers, we’re also honoring the enduring friendship and partnership of these two men.  They traveled together, they talked together, and they passed the gavel to one another.  As they did so, they developed the trust and respect necessary to put the nation’s defense and our servicemembers’ welfare ahead of, as John has said, “all other considerations.”

That’s why we’re naming the Pentagon’s legislative affairs suite after both of you and your partnership – a fitting tribute to two individuals who are examples for how we must work together – not only across the aisle but across the river to ensure the Defense Department and America’s military edge are not only ready to address current threats and challenges, but also positioned for success in the future. 

That’s what John and Carl did, regardless of the strategic era, regardless of the party in the majority, regardless of the politics of the day.  You can see that in footage from hearing after hearing, you can see that in all the miles they traveled together, and you can see that in the pages and pages of law these two have authored and passed.

And you can also see that in a simple, yet powerful press conference just 15 years ago – almost to the day.  On September 11th, 2001 – a tragic day for sure in our nation’s history, and a particularly dark hour in the history of this very building and this department – they came here to the Pentagon.  They toured the damage, they comforted many, and they met with leaders here.  And they stood with Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld and Chairman Hugh Shelton in a Pentagon press conference to reassure the American people. And in that press conference Carl said, and I quote, “Our institutions are strong, and our unity is palpable.”  

John and Carl were two reasons why that was true on 9/11 and in the years since.  And with their names on the door – and their example front of mind – DoD’s legislative affairs team and senior leaders for years to come will work with our partners in Congress to ensure it remains true – and our military edge remains honed – in all the years ahead for this proud nation.

Now we went by the newly named suite just a few moments ago – and I encourage you all to go there and look at some of the wonderful photographs now on display.  For now, though, we’re going to unveil a photo of the suite – right here – honoring these two distinguished servants.

Once again, thank you, and congratulations, guys.

Categories: US DoD Feeds

Contracts For Sept. 21, 2016

DoD Contract Announcements - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 16:00
CONTRACTS AIR FORCE Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Littleton, Colorado, has been awarded a
Categories: US DoD Feeds

Contracts For Sept. 20, 2016

DoD Contract Announcements - Tue, 09/20/2016 - 16:00
CONTRACTS DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., McLean, Virginia (HHM402-15-D-0014),
Categories: US DoD Feeds

Statement from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on the 5th of anniversary of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

DoD News Releases - Tue, 09/20/2016 - 14:43
I am proud to report that five years after the implementation of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't
Categories: US DoD Feeds

Statement from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on the 5th anniversary of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

DoD News Releases - Tue, 09/20/2016 - 14:43
I am proud to report that five years after the implementation of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't
Categories: US DoD Feeds

Secretary of the Navy Names Next Fleet Replenishment Oiler in Honor of Robert F. Kennedy

DoD News Releases - Tue, 09/20/2016 - 10:30
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today that the next ship of the next generation of fleet
Categories: US DoD Feeds
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