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NEWS | April 10, 2015

Secretary of Defense Visits, Talks to Team Osan

By Staff Sgt. Jake Barreiro, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited Team Osan April 9, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

During the visit, Carter held a troop call in hangar 1732 where he briefly spoke about the importance of the United States' role in Asia before taking questions from the crowd and then coining, and thanking, more than 200 service members.

Among the topics Carter spoke on were: the importance of the U.S.'s alliance with the Asia/Pacific region and Korea in particular, readiness, the DoD's priority of attracting and retaining the best service members possible, and the importance of security.

After speaking briefly, Carter took questions from the audience. The Defense Secretary addressed topics of rotating forces to Korea, retirement compensation for service members, and any forthcoming changes to the Korean theater.

On the rotating of forces, Carter said he is pleased with the new methods, but he is also open to feedback.

"I think right now that it's working out very well because readiness is at a premium," said Carter.

Retirement compensation will not be coercively changed for any active service members, said Carter. Although the Defense Secretary noted there are discussions about altering the military's retirement model, these changes will simply give service members a choice.

"We're not going to change the game for anyone that's already in the game," said Carter.

Ultimately, the Defense Secretary said that any change to the retirement system will be driven by a desire to recruit the best personnel possible.

"This isn't about saving money," said Carter.

Asked about the future of the U.S.'s role in Korea, Carter said that in the present and future, a lot of focus will be put into the Korean, and Asian/Pacific theater.

"A lot of newer capabilities will be flowing into here," said Carter. "This is a demanding theater with one-half of the world's wealth and population."

Above all, Carter said that the U.S. alliance with Korea and the rest of the Asia/Pacific region is pivotal and that the DoD needs to attract and retain the best people possible to work in this vital environment.

 

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