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Carter Visits Research Center, ROTC Cadets During Trip

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2016 — The American military needs quality personnel and the agility to ensure they are equipped better than any enemy, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said yesterday during a visit to the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, Indiana.

On his way to the center, Carter stopped at Fort Knox, Kentucky, to meet with ROTC cadets and observed training. He moved on to Crane, which is a world-class military research and logistics hub. The secretary was slated to also go to Chicago, but bad weather forced a cancellation of that leg of the trip.

Future Force

Referring to the military of the future, Carter said the young cadets at Fort Knox are indicative of the quality personnel the U.S. military is attracting.

“Among all the other things we need to be doing all around the world and all the other issues that are before a secretary of defense, one of my responsibilities is to make sure that the military of the future is as fine as today’s,” Carter said during a press briefing at Fort Knox.

ROTC supplies 40 percent of the U.S. Army’s officers, the secretary said.

He saluted the cadets, describing them as “spectacular young people.”

Carter added, “And to have an opportunity to talk to them and ask them why they joined, what they thought … we were doing right, what we could improve, how they saw their lives going forward, how we can continue to keep, retain and develop the best among them, all of that was a very important opportunity for me as we constantly rethink how we manage our personnel in the Department of Defense to hear directly from these young cadets.”

The secretary told reporters at Fort Knox that he welcomed the congressional discussion on whether women should be required to register with Selective Service.

“Well, it stands to reason that since women are now able to serve, if qualified, in every operational specialty in our military, that they would be the subject of discussion … on the Selective Service system,” he said.

North Korea

Carter also said the North Korean missile tests are disturbing, and he pointed to the need for ballistic missile defense “to protect our South Korean allies, U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and U.S. territory.”

At Crane, the secretary thanked the center’s workforce for their efforts. The installation, he added, contributes to security in many different disciplines.

“They do things that range from our nuclear deterrent … to supporting today’s warfighter,” he said.

The Defense Department has to be “the fastest with the best,” Carter said.

Getting technology from an idea to reality is difficult, the secretary said.

“That’s why places like this are essential,” Carter said. “It’s not only important for new things, but it’s important for keeping things that we want to have for a long time.”

The secretary pointed to the Trident D3 missile system as an example, noting that while the missile looks much the same, the technology inside is cutting edge.

“Crane is involved in both the new things, where nothing like that has ever been done before, and in making sure that things we’ve had for a while, but still need, are sustained, are sustained economically, and are improved and modernized as needed,” he said.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)

Distribution channels: Military