As part of his travels to California, Texas and Florida, Defense Secretary Ash Carter yesterday visited Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, where he spoke to reporters about “building the Force of the Future.”
Building the future force “means recruiting. It means training. It means retaining. And it means taking care of service members,” Carter said during a news conference. “And we saw that entire arc today.”
Carter visited Air Force basic training, where he saw “a lot of very talented young Americans” who have volunteered to serve.
“And I met with some of those who were training them,” the secretary said. “And these are dedicated Air Force leaders who spend a part of their career imparting what they know to the new recruits. It's very impressive, really inspiring to see that knowledge passed on to the next generation.”
San Antonio is home to some of the Air Force’s most advanced training, Carter said.
“These are the forward-air controllers. These are the rescue jumpers who will go in and get a downed airman. These are specialty medical and meteorological experts,” he said.
“We live in a competitive world,” Carter said. ”We have military competitors. And, it's important for us to build the force of the future that will be the best.”
‘Fantastic, Professional’ Medical Care for Wounded Warriors
San Antonio is also home to Brooke Army Medical Center, which the secretary also visited.
“I had lunch with a number of wounded warriors, talked to them about their care and whether we were doing what we should do, which is take good care of them. And we are,” he said.
“And I met with the medical professionals there who not only take care of these Americans who have served and been injured in service, but you know, really love them and -- and watch after their families as well,” Carter said. “So it's very moving and fantastic professional medical care. That's what they deserve.”
All in all, Carter said, San Antonio-based military installations are relevant to the force of today and the force of the future.
“And I'm committed to that and confident that our armed forces will remain what it is today, which is the best in the world,” he said.
Preparing for Transition
Responding to a reporter’s question, Carter said the Pentagon is ready for the incoming Donald Trump administration.
“We are ready to welcome President-elect Trump's transition team to the Defense Department,” Carter said. “I'm committed to an orderly transition to our new commander in chief. We have prepared for their arrival. We will welcome them warmly. We will help them to hit the road running.”