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American Forces Press Service

Joint Force Perseveres Despite Strains of War, Chairman Says

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2012 – The men and women of America’s armed forces remain globally engaged but have persevered through 10 years of war and have exemplified a reliable record of service, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Senate Armed Services Committee today.

Speaking alongside Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey praised the nation’s military service record and service members’ families for their support.

“The last 10 years of war have been among the most challenging in our military’s history,” Dempsey said. “Through it all, the joint force has persevered and prevailed. Our families have stood with us, deployment after deployment. So have you. Together, we have fulfilled our solemn vow to protect and defend America, her citizens and her interests.”

Dempsey noted the U.S. military continues to serve all over the world and remains committed to defeating global terrorism.

“As I sit with you today, our service men and women remain globally engaged,” he said. “They are deterring aggression, developing partners, delivering aid, and defeating terrorists. They stand ready, strong and swift in every domain, every day.”

The chairman talked about his recent travels to the Middle East and his observations of troops throughout the region.

“I had the privilege to be with a few of them while traveling to Afghanistan and Egypt this past week,” Dempsey said. “As always, I witnessed extraordinary courage and skill -- in the young soldiers just off patrol in the deep snows of the Hindu Kush, in the men and women of the NATO training mission managing the development of the Afghan national security forces, in the brave and vigilant Marine security detachment in our embassy in Cairo, and in the superb junior airmen who flew us to the right place at the right time.”

Dempsey cited as other examples the further crippling of al-Qaida, protection of the Libyan people, humanitarian assistance to Japan recover from “a perfect storm of tragedy and destruction” and the end of more than 20 years of military operations in and over Iraq.

“They exemplify a professional military with a reliable record of performance,” he said. “And like we did in Iraq, we are steadily transitioning responsibility for security onto Afghan shoulders.”

Dempsey said Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, reports that the plan to reduce U.S. forces there remains on track.

“General Allen has already reduced the force by 10,000,” the chairman said. “I don't yet have his plan for the reduction of the additional [23,000], but in a visit with him last week, he assured me that he would have that plan to us by about the first of April.”

Dempsey also talked about keeping the Defense Department’s commitment to service members.

“You know, we talk a lot about keeping faith,” he said. “And oftentimes, that's equated to how many dollars we're putting in a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine's pocket, but it's a lot more than that.

“Keeping faith is making sure they're the best-trained, best-equipped force on the planet,” he added. “And to do that, we've got to balance the budget against all of the various levers we have to pull.”

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