Magazine article U.S. Department of Defense Speeches

Remarks on "The Future of the Rebalance: Enabling Security in the Vital & Dynamic Asia-Pacific"

Magazine article U.S. Department of Defense Speeches

Remarks on "The Future of the Rebalance: Enabling Security in the Vital & Dynamic Asia-Pacific"

Article excerpt

As Delivered by Ash Carter, USS Carl Vinson, San Diego, California, Sept. 29, 2016

Good morning, gang. Good morning, every one.

Let me start by saying how great it is to be in San Diego. And I appreciate that this beautiful city here has been a community that's welcomed our military for many years. We don't take it for granted. And we're grateful to you. Thank you.

Where'd Mike go? Here we are... on no, no, please sit down. Thank you, Mike. One of the many ways Mike has given me help over the long time we've known each other. You all are lucky to have Mike in command out here. Secretary of Defense isn't a bad title but "Air Boss" is a great title. And he does a very good job of it.

Also, Doug Verissimo, Doug, V8, your Captain. But I'm here to talk to you, all of you, the sailors of the Carl Vinson. First to thank you for everything you do every day. And then to say something about the strategic meaning of what you're accomplishing for our nation and our world here.

For over three decades, the men and women of the Gold Eagle have done what is the noblest thing a person--each and every one of you--can do with your lives, which is defend our great country and make a better world for our children. And today, you--and the rest of what is the finest fighting force the world has ever known, America's--are addressing squarely the five major, immediate, evolving challenges we face as a nation in our security.

First, we're countering the prospect of Russian aggression and coercion, especially in Europe. We're managing historic change in the Asia-Pacific... more on that in a moment, where China is rising, which is fine, but sometimes behaving aggressively, which is not. Indeed, we're also strengthening our deterrent and defense forces in the face of North Korea's continued nuclear and missile provocations. We're checking Iranian aggression and malign influence in the Gulf, and protecting our friends and allies in the Middle East. And every day, and as we sit here right now, we're accelerating the certain defeat of ISIL, destroying the fact and the idea that there can be a state based upon this evil ideology, first in its parent tumor in Iraq and Syria, and everywhere it metastasizes around the world, even as we continue to help protect our people here in at home.

Now, today, I want to speak with you about our strategy with respect to what is the single most consequential region for America's future: which is the Asia-Pacific. And I want to echo what the Air Boss said a moment ago, which is what we all believe: your mission here is critically important to our country, to our security and that of our friends and allies.

I spent the past couple of days with some of the thousands of men and women, military and civilian, who contribute to our nuclear deterrence mission. And I'll tell you the same thing I told them: even if your mission--whether it's at a missile silo in North Dakota or on an aircraft carrier in what is today the relatively peaceful Asia-Pacific--isn't in the headlines everyday--as I see it, we're in real trouble when what you do gets in the headlines--your mission here is one of fundamental strategic importance to our country, and that it's not in the headlines is a tribute to your success--we need you to keep it that way. Remember: this region, with half of humanity, half of the world's economy, is the single most consequential region for America's future--and indeed for the world's.

Indeed, the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, which President Obama announced five years ago, is a critical national commitment. It includes diplomatic, economic, and military components all to ensure--at a time of dramatic political, economic, and security change in the region--that the Asia-Pacific remains a place where every nation can rise and prosper.

To do that, as all of you know, nations are going to need security. People can't have all the other things that make life meaningful if they're not safe. …

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