As Delivered by Secretary of Defense
I think this man embodies exactly what's best about our country - his selflessness, his courage, and how he comes at problem solving, how he represents people. You all know he's a West Point graduate; he himself served in the military for many years after he graduated from West Point.So Jack, for your continued leadership and support, and I think as was noted here a few minutes ago, he is truly one of the preeminent voices in our country on national security and will continue to be a hugely important voice as we deal with some of these great new challenges ahead.
And some of these I will talk about here in my remarks this afternoon, because, as Tom said and others, this is really about innovation, these three days, and everything you all have done and everything you represent, to build on the past, build on to what has been done already, and it is historic, the accomplishments.So Jack, thank you.
To my friend
To your two Congressmen - one who serves on the
To Madam President, thank you for allowing me along with the governor and the speakers to come to your state.I'll be out before sundown.I promise.And to the other elected officials here, for your service and what you do, and also to our industry leaders - Jack said it, Tom said it, others - the industrial base is critical, and it has always been critical to not just the technological edge and advantage that it gives us, and these men and women that
To the Southeast[ern]
This "Defense Innovation Day[s]" really says it all.And I hope - I suspect, as you all do - it will assure that this will not be the first, nor last, day that you will bring people together.And it really prioritizes as much as anything else, and share in a value-added way, how we are able to keep that edge in a world - a very evolving and dangerous world.
Because, as you all know, while we're grappling with many national security challenges - from the crisis in
And it's appropriate that we gather here, especially appropriate on the shores of
It was on
It was down the road at the budding
And it was just across the bay where Rhode Islanders fabricated the Quonset huts that dotted the landscape of U.S. military bases during World War II.
It's also a vital part of America's defense industrial base, which is a critically important national strategic asset - one that I am determined to preserve as Secretary of Defense.
The businesses that comprise our industrial base are as diverse as the troops they support... and like our armed forces, they are unrivaled around the world.
Private-sector expertise helps give our military its technological edge, and helps drive the economic strength that undergirds our national power.And the private-sector industrial base has always been there when we always needed it, and we needed it most - and we need it today.
From churning out over 100,000 combat aircraft during the Second World War... to constructing the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles that continue to protect American soldiers and Marines in
As we all know, our defense industrial base just didn't suddenly appear.Building it - and sustaining it - took time, and investment, and close partnership between the
For all these reasons, the health and the vitality of our defense industrial base has been a top concern for all of us at the
The deep, steep, and abrupt cuts of sequestration took a toll on the force by cutting into the readiness of all our troops.But we were also mindful of the harmful impact on American industry, and the ripple effects it caused up and down the supply chain.And while the budget agreement reached last year lessened the impact of these cuts for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015, we still face the reality that sequestration is the law of the land and will return in 2016 if
This creates uncertainty for DoD, and for industry as well.No organization, whether a government agency or a for-profit business, can plan for the future without being able to make some basic assumptions about resources.
So we will continue to press
What makes this especially challenging, and what makes our close partnership even more essential, is that resources for defense are declining even as the threats to our national security are becoming more sophisticated, more deadly, and more diverse.
And while we face a multitude of threats and sources of instability in the world, I am greatly concerned that our military's technological superiority is being challenged in ways we've never experience before.
Disruptive technologies and destructive weapons once solely possessed by only advanced nations, have proliferated widely, and are being sought or acquired by unsophisticated militaries and terrorist groups.Meanwhile,
All this suggests that we are entering an era where American dominance on the seas, in the skies, and in space - not to mention cyberspace - can no longer be taken for granted.And while
If we don't take these challenges seriously, now, our military could arrive in a future combat theater facing an arsenal of advanced, disruptive technologies that thwart our technological advantages, limit our freedom of maneuver, and put American lives at risk.
As Chairman Dempsey and I have said, we will not send our troops into a fair fight.A world where our military lacks a decisive edge would be less stable, less secure for both
We must take this challenge seriously, and do everything necessary to sustain and renew our military superiority.This will not only require active investment by both government and industry - it will require us to once again embrace a spirit of innovation and adaptability across our defense enterprise.
Innovation was a key emphasis throughout DoD's 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, which focused not only on new technologies, but also on developing innovative ways to leverage our current capabilities. And in the President's budget for Fiscal Year 2015, DoD prioritized key investments in submarines, cyber, next-generation fighter and bomber aircraft, missile defense, and special operations forces - putting a premium on rapidly deployable, self-sustaining platforms that can defeat more technologically advanced adversaries.Undersea capabilities that can deploy and strike with relative freedom of movement and decision will continue to be a vital part of the mix.
To realistically sustain these critical investments while keeping our commitments to our people, we had to make tough but necessary choices, and tough but necessary tradeoffs.These included reducing the overall size of the force, divesting unneeded infrastructure, phasing out aging and less capable weapons platforms, and modestly adjusting military compensation.
While we hope
One of the many reasons I wanted Deputy Secretary Bob Work as a partner in helping lead DoD was his thorough understanding of the operational and technological challenges facing our military.He also has a deep knowledge of the "offset" strategies developed by national security thinkers in the 1950s and 1970s to ensure our military's superiority - first the New Look, which prioritized nuclear deterrence, and then the
As we see those advantages begin to erode, I've asked Bob to move forward with an initiative to develop a third, game-changing offset strategy.As a key part of this endeavor, DoD's Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics,
Bob and Frank will be the key drivers of DoD's efforts in all of these areas. They have my full confidence and my full support, and I will be personally engaged in these efforts. Given the current budget environment, innovation will be critical.We must be innovative not only in developing the technologies we buy, but also how we buy them, and how we use them in order to achieve our operational and strategic objectives.
Although history is our guide, we are mindful that the 21st century provides new challenges.We cannot assume - as we did in the 1950s and 70s - that the
For a third offset strategy to succeed, industry must also have the right opportunities and incentives to develop and operationalize the kind of innovative technologies that our military will need in the future.That's why DoD's next round of improvements to the acquisition system, which I am previewing for the first time today, will be focused on innovation and accelerating the flow of technology to our people.
As you all know - everyone in this audience - attempts at defense acquisition reform have been plentiful over the last half-century.As the largest steward of taxpayer dollars, DoD must always strive to make every dollar count - and we must do better.
We all agree that DoD needs to be smarter in what we buy and how we buy it.We all want to reduce schedule slippages, curb cost growth, and get better performance to keep our military edge.The question is, how do we do that?Declining budgets won't allow for repeating past mistakes.We have to be creative and innovative.
Examples of new initiatives include:
* more use of modular and open systems architectures;
* providing industry with draft requirements earlier;
* removing obstacles to procuring commercial items; and,
* improving our technology search and outreach in global markets.
These initiatives and others will strengthen our defense industrial base and help both the U.S. and our allies and partners maintain our technological edge.
There will also be new initiatives focused on helping small businesses and start-ups succeed.These firms are more than just the engine of the American economy - as you all know, many are represented here today - they help drive American discovery, creativity, and innovation.There's proof of that here in
Another important part of
Our acquisition improvements are not restricted to how we buy weapon systems; they also pertain to how we support and care for our people.Last week, DoD released a request for proposals to restructure and modernize our electronic health records system, so it is capable of meeting present and future national healthcare data standards, and the quality and timely services we must provide to our veterans and service members. It will allow DoD to do a much better job with sharing information with both the VA and private-sector health care providers.These issues will continue to be a high priority for me.
DoD will never corner the market on good ideas for improving defense acquisition.We know that.That's why we've been reaching out to hear from everyone - industry, trade groups, think tanks, and
As you may know, both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have been working this year on acquisition reform initiatives; in particular, we very much appreciate the leadership of Congressmen
Over the past several months, DoD has been working closely with Congressional leadership and Congressional leadership staff in developing a legislative proposal to streamline these requirements to focus more on principle rather than process.Our goal is to reduce unnecessary paperwork so that acquisitions professionals can spend more time doing their most important job - getting the best equipment and best technology to our troops at the best value to our taxpayer.We hope to submit our proposal to
Throughout all these efforts - ensuring a strong industrial base, sustaining our technological edge, and improving defense acquisition - we won't always get it right, especially early on.We recognize that.We could easily allow our time and our energy to be consumed by the crisis of the moment, or the day, or the crisesof the week, which as we know are abundant... but we must also stay focused on laying the groundwork that will define the future.We can't focus only on where we are today.We must also think through where we're going tomorrow and why.
In order to continue to maintain our technological advantage and stay on the cutting edge of technology, we must be willing to take risks in our innovation and creative thinking.
We've seen that here again in
Today, given the breadth and the magnitude of the challenges we face, DoD and industry - including those in this audience, particularly including those in this audience, and throughout southeastern
Though our challenges are great, and are many, so is our capacity to meet them: historical opportunities, historical capacity to meet these great challenges.History shows us that America has always risen to this challenge, no matter how daunting, thanks to the drive and entrepreneurial spirit that is the hallmark of America's national character.The stakes are too high, the consequences too dire for us to stand by and let other nations challenge our dominance.To retain our superiority in the future, our thinking and our actions must be relevant to tomorrow's challenges. We will not fail this historic charge.
And I am grateful for the opportunity to share some of these thoughts with you today, and thank you, thank you for what you do for our country.
Thank you very much.
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