Bidding Farewell to Secretary Carter

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford praised outgoing Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Monday during a farewell ceremony at JB Myer, Henderson Hall, Va., calling him a “visionary” whose dogged effort to cut through bureaucratic red tape helped save countless “lives and limbs” in the fights in Iraq and Afghanistan. “A lot of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines came home because you cared, and because you decisively engaged,” said Dunford. He said the establishment of the Warfighter Senior Integration Group, an initiative Carter started in 2009, helped commanders get urgent capabilities to the fight as quickly as possible. Dunford called Carter “a man of action” who is “known for getting things done and demanding the same of others.” He added, “I’ve never worked with someone so quick to identify the key elements of complex issues. He’s a visionary. While most of us struggle to tackle today’s challenges, he’s always been someone who could look around the corner and see where the department needed to be in the future.”

Carter, who said he first “walked the halls of the Pentagon” 35 years ago, noted his work for both Republican and Democratic administrations and for 11 Secretaries of Defense. He thanked President Obama “for the trust and the confidence he reposed in me in three different positions over eight years”—as undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics from 2009-2011; deputy secretary of defense from 2011 to 2013; and then as SecDef. Carter said he was “proud” to lead US service members. “Everywhere I go in the world, leaders say they like working with America’s troops,” he said. “It’s not just because they’re awesomely capable, it’s also because of how they conduct themselves and the values they embody.”