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Force of The Future Requires Commitment By All, Carter Says

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2016 — The Force of the Future takes commitment by all service members to modernize the U.S. military and keep it strong, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told sailors yesterday at Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois.

The secretary said in his troop talk that continually improving how DoD manages, develops and recruits its people “does not mean we’re not doing a good job. It only means we could do it better.” 

Carter said he develops ideas for the Force of the Future by visiting with and speaking to service members, adding that he appreciates their insights.

Force of The Future Efforts

The secretary talked about some of the initiatives he’s instilled to strengthen the Force of the Future, such as ensuring the military has the best in technology, accessing particular talents the military needs in its force recruitment, the ability to train outside DoD for personal development, improving the parental leave policy and opening up all military specialties, including combat, to women.

“It doesn't mean that everybody meets standards, and everybody gets selected, but the principle of the all-volunteer force is we get to pick and choose.  That's why we have such good people,” he said.

DoD’s Greatest Asset

And people comprise DoD’s greatest asset, Carter said.

The U.S. military stands for good things, the secretary said.

“People like us for that … they like us because of how our people conduct themselves, and what they stand for,” he said.

When he travels around the world, the secretary said he hears how other nations enjoy working with the U.S. military.

“It's a strength of America, but the biggest strength we have is our people. That's where you all come in,” Carter told the service members.

Serving: A Noble Duty

The secretary said he swore in seven Navy recruits that morning at a local Military Entrance Processing Station, and told them serving in the military is the noblest thing they can do.

“There's nothing better than being part of feeling or protecting our people, leaving a better world for our children,” he said.

“You can see in those young eyes the beginning of them getting that and that they feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. And it's an inspiration that, for me … never stops,” the secretary said. 

The day before represented the “other end of things” at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Carter said, when he met with members of the XVIII Airborne Corps as they prepare to deploy to join the battle to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant.

“Off they go to Iraq and Syria, which is where ISIL was born, so we need to destroy it there,” Carter said. “We're going to destroy it there -- and then, everywhere around the world.”

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoDNews)

Distribution channels: Military