Gen. Dempsey's Message to the Force on Sequestration
As Delivered by General Martin E. Dempsey , The Pentagon Friday, March 01, 2013
I’m General Marty Dempsey, the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and I’m speaking with you today on the first of March 2013 as I’ve just learned that sequestration has occurred. I want to tell you some things I know, I want to share with you some things I don’t know, and I want to ask you to share with me something I need to know.
So what do I know? I know that we need to continue to protect the nation and we will. I know that we have to continue to prepare our young men and women who we put in harm’s way in places like Afghanistan and Korea, and in the Gulf. We have to prepare them. We have to make sure that they’re well-trained, well-led, and well-equipped. I also know that we have to preserve our readiness for as long as possible. We have to stretch our readiness dollars and that means part of the force will be advantaged and part of the force will be disadvantaged. I also want you to know that your leaders are alert. We just came out of a meeting with the Secretary of Defense and with the service chiefs—that is to say the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Chief of Staff of the Army, the Air Force, and Chief of Naval Operations—and we understand the difficult position we’re going to place you in. We understand the hardships you may have to suffer. We understand the uncertainty and the anxiety that that could bring. But we are committed to leading through this. We’re going to lead, and we’re going to do that with your help.
And that leads me to what I don’t know. What I don’t know is how long this will last. Our elected officials have options, and they will exercise those options. They can exercise them over the next few weeks, or they could exercise them over the next few months. So we’re going to live with uncertainty for a little while.
Finally, what do I need from you? Stay in touch. Communicate with us. Tell us what’s going on. Tell us the effect of the decisions we’re making. I admire you a great deal for what you’ve done in the past, for what you’re doing now, and what we’re going to ask you to do in the future. I promise you we’ll do our best to lead our way through this uncertain time. I’m very proud to serve with you. God bless you, those in harm’s way and your families.
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