US Defense Secretary Calls for 'Broader Strategy' to Stop Terrorism

Mar 31, 2015

During a talk at Syracuse University, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter explained on Tuesday how he plans to adapt the mission and the make-up of the military to a changing world.

People, not technology, make the U.S. military “the finest fighting force the world has ever known,” Carter said. 

That’s why he’s committed to tailoring the military’s recruiting strategies to attract and keep better, talented people in the armed services.  To attract younger generations requires Pentagon officials to “think out of the five-sided box,” Carter said.    

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks to a packed crowd at Syracuse University's Dineen Hall.
Credit Chris Bolt, WAER News

“They have a different way of thinking about their careers, about choice, about what excites them, and we need to understand that and connect to that to continue to have the best people come in,” he said.

With the rise of global terrorism, the nature of warfare has shifted from a more traditional state-on-state conflict model, Carter said.  This requires different fighting strategies, such as using special forces more, he said. “They are very frequently our best instrument in a conflict that has not yet erupted to a full-scale war.”

Launching drone strikes is another non-traditional way to respond to shifting battlefields, Carter said.

“We need to do it in a way that is always lawful and appropriate, but it’s also important that it be done in the wider context of a broader strategy towards terrorism.”

On Iran nuclear talks, Carter, like President Obama, supports only a ‘good deal’ with Tehran, sharing the president’s determination that Iran not have a nuclear weapon, he said.  And a military option could be needed to prevent it, he said.