GEN Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), said Wednesday that the budget and emphasis shifts the Department of Defense (DoD) is making are with the awareness that the mission in Afghanistan must be complete. He also outlined transition plans and priorities with an eye on 2020.
He made his remarks at the 2012 ROA National Security Symposium at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.
“We have always, as a military, had to be able to expand and contract the force,” he said.
He said the pressing questions behind the transitions are, “How do we make sure that we do what’s right for the nation, do what’s right for our Constitution, and do what’s right for individuals?”
With completing the mission in Afghanistan an important priority, his second item of focus was the budget.
“I say it every chance I get, that we can’t do this budget-by-budget,” GEN Dempsey said. “That’s kind of death by 1,000 cuts.”
As a result, he said the JCS, combatant commanders, and DoD leadership will look to what the force should be in 2020, and work toward that over four budget cycles.
“We’ve got to provide the nation the capabilities it needs in the right balance,” GEN Dempsey added. This includes balancing capabilities as well as budgets.
The third focus he mentioned is that of the profession.
“If we agree … that we’re a profession with a calling to do something for the nation, and to have a particular set of values to back that up, and a particular set of standards, special skills, and expertise, [and a] commitment to continually develop education,” he said, “then I think it will help us understand this issue called balance.”