Secretary of Defense Ash Carter Dinner Remarks UN Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial

U.S. Department of Defense Speeches, September 8, 2016 | Go to article overview

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter Dinner Remarks UN Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial


As delivered by Ash Carter, London, England, Sept. 8, 2016

Good evening.

I want to thank Secretary Fallon for his kind introduction. And I want to thank the United Kingdom for hosting this important--and first of its kind--United Nations Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial.

Earlier today at Oxford University, I spoke with students about how, in a changing world, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other like-minded nations must continue to stand together and stand up for the values and the principled international order that have, for decades, helped make a better world.

In Prime Minister May and Defense Secretary Fallon, the UK has leaders who are committed to doing so; their hosting this conference is just one example of that commitment. And for all of us, they are good friends and the right partners at a time of great change in the world.

I'm pleased to be here this evening with so many of the United States'--and my own--friends, allies, and partners. Many of us have grown up together over our years in the international defense community...working together to protect our people and make a better world for our children.

Of course, it's a very rare occasion to gather this many Defense Ministers in one room. And there are two important reasons why so many of us are here. First is the United Nations. My friend Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who could not be here this week, Under Secretary Generals Ladsous and Khare, and their teams have worked with each of our nations to increase the potential and the power of UN peace operations.

And the second reason we're here is that we believe in the importance of UN Peacekeeping and the value of peace operations. We do so for humanitarian reasons, but also because, as defense officials, we appreciate that it is more efficient and effective to prevent the development of serious dangers, rather than confronting them later on.

We've learned that lesson time and again, sometimes the hard way, from the aftermath of World War II right up through to today. And we must remember it at a time of global change and instability, when the need for and importance of peace operations will only grow.

Today's world requires our brave peacekeepers to take real but necessary risks to help end, and, most importantly, prevent conflict. That is why it's imperative that all our nations and militaries contribute more to these operations, and that we improve how we conduct them. I'd like to speak with you tonight about both those important efforts, and about the contributions the United States is making to UN Peacekeeping.

Of course, we're having this conversation at a time and in a security environment that, like so much else in our lives, is rapidly changing. Indeed, thanks to the work of many of your nations and militaries and your adherence to the principles I mentioned earlier, the people of the world have generally grown healthier, freer, richer, and safer over the past 75 years. And the world has become more prosperous and dynamic as a result. All that change--economic, political, military, social, and technological...personal and national...regional and global--has produced many opportunities for our nations, but it has also created challenges and crises as well.

As so, today, the U.S. Defense Department, which I lead and represent here, is focused on five immediate, major, evolving challenges.

In Europe, the Defense Department is standing with America's NATO allies and taking a strong and balanced approach to deter Russian aggression while also leaving the door open to working with Russia where our shared interests align. In the vital Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. military is a committed partner in building a principled and inclusive security network of nations, many of whom are represented here, to ensure every nation in that dynamic region--every nation--can continue to rise and prosper. …

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