Miley reflects on the 25th Secretary of Defense > US Department of Defense > Department of Defense News


Late last year, Ash Carter, who served as the 25th Secretary of Defense, died at his home in Boston.

In Washington yesterday, a special competitive research project hosted the “Ash Carter Exchange on Innovation and National Security” – a forum where a host of experts discussed ways to enhance cooperation in the pursuit of national security.

Closing the day-long event was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, who offered insight into Carter’s impact on national security and the Department of Defense.

“I had the great privilege of working closely with Secretary Carter for many years and I can testify to you that he was a great patriot, a true patriot and a great American,” Miley said. “When I think of Ash Carter, the first thing I think of is the human touch. He was, of course, a physicist, a scientist – but more than that, he was a great person. All in all. He was positive, he was nice, and he communicated especially well.

Moreover, according to Austin, Carter was a dedicated public servant.

“Ash Carter’s decision-making was always motivated by the care and safety of the men and women in uniform,” Milley said. “He was incredibly talented at cutting red tape and streamlining bureaucracy to improve the lives of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.”

One example was with a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle – a vehicle used in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the time, it was Defense Secretary Robert Gates who conceived the idea, but it was Carter — then undersecretary of defense, technology and logistics — who pushed it over the finish line.

“I was a witness to that,” said Millie. “His actions, Ash Carter’s actions saved American lives on the battlefield, including my own.”

This year marks the first time that the “Ash Carter Exchange on Innovation and National Security” will be held. Carter’s wife, Stephanie, helped organize the event. According to the event’s website, the purpose of the exchange is to bring together “pioneers and creative winners” to advance cooperation in safeguarding national security.

That kind of effort was something Carter himself excelled at, Milley said.

“Perhaps his greatest legacy is his sense of urgency for the U.S. military to adopt new technology, accept risks and think of creative solutions to our problems,” Milley said. “Secretary Carter was forward thinking, he was always talking about generative AI [artificial intelligence] … He was a rare man who could understand and articulate both science and the policy of new technology.

Carter’s vision and pursuit of innovation would transform the US military and make it more efficient and effective.

“I believe … Ash Carter instinctively understood that we are in the midst of a major fundamental shift in the nature of warfare in human history,” Milley said. “And he understood that the stakes were very high. At the end of the day, it was about preventing a great power war that has kept the great power at peace for the past 80 years and maintaining a rules-based international order.”

Today, Miley said, both China and Russia are seeking to disrupt that world order to further their own interests, and Carter understands this better than most.

“China and Russia have tactics that threaten our interests and our way of life,” Milley said. But we must not forget that a war with both is inevitable or unavoidable, and we must continue to prevent the great power struggle that is the main goal of Ash Carter’s professional life. That’s what pushed Ash Carter.

Today, Miley said, America will continue to prevent a major power war by being prepared and demonstrating its readiness to the world. This was one of Carter’s “first principles,” he said.

“Ash Carter recognizes readiness for the future, otherwise known as modernity.” “And he understood that we are at a point in human history where we are experiencing a fundamental change in the nature of war.”

While the nature of war has always remained the same – the desire of one nation to impose its will on another nation – how wars are fought has changed and will continue to change.

For example, during World War II, Nazi Germany was the first to successfully combine new technologies such as airplanes, wheeled and tracked vehicles, and radios – and use that to their advantage.

“They took these technologies and turned them into a way of war — the German way of war — that allowed them to … conquer Europe in 18 months,” Milley said.

The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Allies eventually caught up to Nazi Germany, Milley said. But the Nazis were at the forefront of technology, giving them an early advantage.

“We are in a period of comparison today,” Milley said. “And Ash Carter was one of the few who realized that early on. He knew we couldn’t have 18 months to build up a military when the next great power war broke out. He knew we had to be ready. We had to be ready now and in the future.

The challenge now is to find the best combination of technology combined with the right training, pedagogy and organizational structure. Some of those technologies — including secure communications, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart manufacturing and 3D printing — were all highlighted early on by Carter, Milley said.

“Your army was led years ago by Secretary Ash Carter,” said Miley. “And those will come to fruition today. You’re seeing that in the Army with multi-domain task forces and long-range fires. You’re seeing that in the Navy with littoral squadrons. You’re seeing that in the Navy. Command Area Tests in the 5th Fleet, and you’ll see it in the Air Force.

All these concepts, according to Miley, were started by Ash Carter. And the challenge for today’s U.S. military is to take new technologies and integrate them into a way of war that gives the U.S. a strategic and tactical advantage over its adversaries.

“We are doing this to prevent war. To achieve this, we must move smoothly within our collective forces,” he said. “On Day 1 of the next war, we need to be fully integrated and able to move across space and time in a fast, high-tech, rapidly changing environment; [while] It remains invisible and in constant motion. And [if we] We might win. But, above all, to do that, if your enemy finds out, you will be prevented.

To advance that effort, Miley said, DoD is launching a third iteration of the Joint War Concept — the first version of which was developed by Carter.

Miley called on all attendees to re-embrace Carter’s vision of a merit-based military that includes the best.

“Now everyone who is a part of this, everyone who watches this and all of us in uniform must rededicate ourselves to Ash Carter’s vision,” Mille said. “We must always remember that we are committed to the Constitution, and Ash Carter never let us forget that.”

Carter, Miley, understood that differences such as race, religion, gender, or social status did not matter in America and the American armed forces.

“It was your determination, your ability that mattered,” Miley said. “What matters is that you are an American. What Ash Carter cares about is your ability, your skills, your knowledge, your qualities. He understood that. And he knew you would be judged on that. He was committed to that American ideal. Ash Carter was someone we could all look up to. Everything he stood for, we ourselves.” That’s what we need to give back to – the idea of ​​America. That’s what Ash Carter was. Like him, the North Star, and that should always be our North Star.

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