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Carter: Fanning Works to Strengthen Army Amid Global Challenges

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2016 — It is an honor to welcome Army Secretary Eric Fanning to the job, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today, saying he is an experienced leader who is working to strengthen the force as it confronts evolving security challenges.

Carter congratulated Fanning during the new secretary's official welcome ceremony today at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia. Fanning was sworn in May 18 as the 22nd secretary of the Army.

"From his service in positions of responsibility on nonproliferation issues and weapons of mass destruction, to his proven leadership in resource management, Secretary Fanning understands the full spectrum of responsibilities and opportunities that we face as a 21st century military," Carter said.

Fanning and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley recognize what must be done to ensure the Army remains strong and ready, Carter said. He complimented them with moving forward on key initiatives on the Defense Department's efforts to build the force of the future.  

Fanning and Milley are working to strengthen the Army's unparalleled ability forged over the last 15 years and longer to carry out its core mission "to seize, to hold, and to dominate physical and human terrain," Carter explained.

"They aren’t resting on the current excellence of our Army; they’re doubling down on it, ensuring that our ground forces are agile, unrivaled in posture, ready for full spectrum operations, and always prepared to defend America’s interests and values," Carter said.

The nation, Carter said, is facing no fewer than five immediate and evolving challenges: Russian aggression and coercion in Europe, China behaving aggressively in the Asia-Pacific region, North Korean nuclear provocations, Iranian aggression and malign influence in the Gulf, and terrorism and the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.

'Best Job in the World'

Fanning, who said he is incredibly honored at his selection for the position, said being Army secretary is the "best job in the world." He paid tribute to those serving around the globe and honored those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

He listed numerous projects soldiers and civilians have worked on to improve global and national security. "When the problem is so big and they can't think of who else can tackle it, they turn to the U.S. Army," he said.

Milley described Fanning as an extraordinarily talented leader who joins the team at a critical time. The Army is engaged around the globe, and is balancing current and future requirements in an unpredictable world of challenging threats, the general said.

"Eric Fanning is an incredible professional. He's completely committed to our Army, both the soldiers and the families," Milley said.

'Privilege' to Work With Fanning

Fanning served as Carter's chief of staff when Carter first became defense chief.

"It's been a privilege for me to work alongside Eric Fanning for many years, and watch him develop into one of our country’s most knowledgeable, dedicated and experienced public servants," Carter said.

Fanning has a "unique perspective on the pivotal connections that bind our joint force," Carter said. He pointed out Fanning served in senior leadership roles in each of the military departments, including as undersecretary of the Air Force, acting secretary of the Air Force, and deputy undersecretary of the Navy.

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)
Distribution channels: Military