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Defense Secretary takes pointed questions from Fort Bragg soldiers

Posted July 10, 2015

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter took questions in a town hall meeting with troops on Fort Bragg Friday, July 10, 2015.

— In a town hall meeting with soldiers on Fort Bragg Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter faced questions about ISIS, military cuts and women in combat, offering detailed answers.

After thanking the soldiers assembled on the Green Ramp for their service, Carter said the Army was applying lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan in planning for the fighting force of the future.

"From the point of view of the proficiency and skill and dedication of you, there's no question. It was spectacular," Carter said. "This is the finest fighting force the world has ever known."

Questioned about the Army's plans to cut about 40,000 jobs over the next two years, Carter said he was certain that would remain the case.

"We can do more than one thing at a time," he said. "We have to be able to do more than one thing at a time."

A smaller force will require that the Army recruit and retain the best and brightest, Carter said, and that they’re well paid and have time for their families.

Asked about the threat from the Islamic State, Carter said the United States is resisting sending American troops and allowing local fighters to take the lead.

"The trick is to have a victory that sticks," Carter said.

Carter observed airborne operations Friday morning and had a chance to review some of the military equipment utilized by the special operations command before meeting with soldiers. He spent the afternoon observing other training activities on post.

"It's a once-in-a-life time opportunity," said PFC Joseph Velez-Cuevas, as Carter shook hands and thanked each soldier personally. He handed each a souvenir coin. 

"To hear him talk was a blessing in itself. And now I've got a little bragging rights with this coin," Velez-Cuevas said.

Carter will be in Charlotte on Saturday to speak to the annual conference of the National Association of Counties.


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  • Gen Lee Jul 10, 2015
    user avatar

    As a veteran pointed out last night. We are a prime target for many including ISIS. Cutting the military is just going to make their job of taking us over/destroying us easier.

  • Gen Lee Jul 10, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    They don't do nothing. They train and do what else they have to to be prepared. So be prepared to be drafted when there aren't enough troops when a war does happen.

  • Craig Allen Jul 10, 2015
    user avatar

    No worries. This will change after the next election.

  • Cary Tom Jul 10, 2015
    user avatar

    I think these guys know what they're doing based upon the current global situation. No need to pay and support 40,000 troops to do nothing. A warriors job is to war.

  • Gary Hutson Jul 10, 2015
    user avatar

    Technology is great but in the final analysis, the only way to take, hold and control territory is boots on the ground.

  • Phillip Mozingo Jul 10, 2015
    user avatar

    So we have already figured out that new technology and smart bombs can't rein in ISIS, so why cut troops? You can't win any battle from the sky alone. There will always have to be boots on the ground to gain ground. This doesn't make much sense but then again, it is another political mistake.