“As Chairman, it is my responsibility to work with the Joint
Chiefs to ensure that the armed forces of the United States keep America immune
from coercion. The Strategy just described by the President and the Secretary
of Defense enables us to fulfill that responsibility. It sustains the sacred
trust put in us by the American people -- to defend them and our country.
“This strategy stems from a deeply collaborative process. We
sought out and took on insights both within and beyond the Department of Defense
to include the intelligence community and other government departments. We
weighed facts and assessments. We challenged every assumption. We considered a
wide range of recommendations and counter-arguments. I can assure you that the
steps we have taken to arrive at this Strategy involved all this and more.
“This strategy has also benefitted from an exceptional amount of
attention by our senior uniformed and civilian leadership. On multiple
occasions, we held all-day and multi-day discussions with the Service Chiefs and
every Combatant Commander. The Service Chiefs -- charged with developing the
force for the strategy -- were heard early and often. The Combatant Commanders
-- charged with executing the strategy -- all weighed in time and time again.
And, we were all afforded extraordinary access to both the President and the
Secretary of Defense. Frankly, the breadth and depth of dialogue to arrive at
today’s strategic choices was both necessary and noteworthy.
“Today, we are here to discuss the broad contours and central
choices of this strategy. But, this is not the end. Rather, it is a waypoint
in a continuous and deliberate process to develop the Joint Force we will need
in 2020. There are four budget cycles between now and then. Each of these
cycles presents an opportunity to adjust how and what we do to achieve this
strategy in the face of new threats…and in the context of a changing security
“It is a sound strategy. It ensures we remain the preeminent
military in the world. It preserves the talent of the All-Volunteer Force. It
takes into account the lessons of the last ten years of war. It acknowledges
the imperative of a global, networked, and full-spectrum Joint Force.
“And, it responds to the new fiscal environment -- though as a
learning organization, it is important to note that even if we didn’t have fewer
resources, we would expect to change. As a consequence, it calls for
innovation -- new ways of operating and partnering. It rebalances our focus by
region and mission. It makes important investments in emerging and proven
capabilities like cyber and special operations.
“There has been much made about whether this strategy moves away
from a force structure explicitly designed to fight and win two wars
simultaneously. Fundamentally, our strategy has always been about our ability
to respond to global contingencies wherever and whenever they happen. This does
not change. We will always provide a range of options for our nation. We can
and will always be able to do more than one thing at a time. More importantly,
wherever we are confronted and in whatever sequence, we will win.
“We do accept some risk, as all strategies must. Because we will
be somewhat smaller, these risks will be measured in time and capacity.
However, we have to be honest -- we could face even greater risks if we did not
change from our current approach.
“I’m pleased with the outcome. It’s not perfect. There will be
people who will think it goes too far. Others will say it doesn’t go far
enough. That probably makes it about right. It gives us what we need -- in
this world and within this budget -- to provide the best possible defense for
our nation at a time of great transitions. It prepares us for what we
anticipate needing in 2020.
“This is a real strategy. It represents real choices. And, I am
here today to assure you it has real buy-in among our senior military and
civilian leadership. This is not the strategy of a military in decline. This
is a Strategy -- and a Joint Force -- on which the nation can depend.
“I want to wrap up by saying just a couple of words about
leadership. It is always important, but absolutely essential during tough
times. Make no mistake -- these are tough economic times, and this strategy
required some tough decisions. I want to thank President Obama and Secretary
Panetta for their leadership throughout this process.
“The real test, though, is in execution. Fortunately, the young
men and women who will be charged to carry out the lion’s share of this strategy
know something about leadership too. It is the very cornerstone of our
profession -- the profession of arms. And for the past ten years, they have
done nothing but lead in some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.
For that reason, above all others, I am absolutely convinced and fully satisfied
that this strategy will meet our Nation’s needs for the future.