Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–January 28, 2016.
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASH CARTER: Sorry to be late. Meeting at the White House lasted a lot longer than I thought. So, I’m sorry to keep you waiting.
I assume everybody has gotten dug out of the snow successfully. But any way, thanks for being here, really appreciate it.
You know that over the last several months I’ve been laser-focused here, we all have been laser-focused. And I’ve spoken many times on accelerating the campaign to defeat ISIL, defeating it first where it took root in Iraq and Syria, and elsewhere in which it has metastasized, and protecting our people and our homeland.
And what we must remain absolutely focused on delivering ISIL a lasting defeat, we do not for a moment lose sight of America’s leading role around the world. And additionally, certain long-term imperatives of this great Department of Defense, and particularly, what we must do to build the force for the future.
When I became secretary of defense, I made a commitment to building America’s force of the future, an all-volunteer military that will defend our nation for generations to come. I’ve proudly stated that today’s military is the finest fighting force the world has ever known.
But that excellence is not a birthright. It has to be earned again and again by investing in what matters most, which is our people. By drawing from the best America has to offer and from the broadest possible pool of talent, we can ensure that the force of tomorrow remains as great as the force of today.
That’s why I announced in December that we’re opening up all remaining combat occupations to women, so that 100 percent of Americans who can meet our exacting standards can contribute to our mission. That’s why in recent years, we allowed gay men and women to serve openly. That’s why we’re developing new approaches and incentives for recruitment, so that we can reach and draw from a broader cross section of Americans.
And clearly, fairness is important, but always, always the mission effectiveness of our force comes first. We are not Google. We are not Walmart. We’re war fighters.
But that doesn’t mean we should not be challenging ourselves just like the private sector. To modernize our workplace and workforce, to retain and attract the top talent we need, so that our force can remain the best for future generations.
As you know, last year, I asked my team to come up with a set of proposals and reforms to help us build the force of the future. The military service chiefs and secretaries, supported by one of the department’s most innovative minds, Under Secretary Brad Carson, have brought their ideas to bear in working groups led by the Deputy Secretary of Defense Work and Vice Chairman Selva to get their input on ideas, analyze the impacts of proposals on mission effectiveness and integrate feedback.
And of course, I want to say especially Secretary of the Navy Mabus has been a leader in so many of these issues.
I introduced our first link to the force to the future in November, a set of reforms that help connect our men and women in the military in more structured and career-advancing ways to our most creative industries and to our culture of innovation. And as I said then, that was just a beginning.
Today, I’m announcing the next link in the force of the future: a set of several initiatives with a singular focus — strengthening the support we provide our military families to improve their quality of life.
These reforms focus on family issues that impact three critical areas for the force of the future: recruiting, retention, and career and talent management.
It’s something that’s been said so often before, but is so true. While you recruit a service member, you retain a family. So what we do to strengthen quality of life for military families today, and what we do to demonstrate that we’re a family-friendly force to those we want to recruit is absolutely — absolutely essential to our future strength.
We all know that our all-volunteer force is predominantly a married force — 52 percent of our enlisted force is married, and 70 percent of our officer force is married. We also have another 84,000 military-to-military marriages — 84,000 — with 80 percent of them stationed within 100 miles of each other.
While we often speak of commitments to family and country in the same breath, the stresses of military service on our families are heavy and well known. Among the stresses military families face, having and raising children is near the top.
And we know that, at 10 years of service, when women are at their peak years for starting a family, women are retained at a rate 30 percent lower than men across the services.
We know that a high level of work — excuse me — of family conflict — work and family conflict is one of the primary reasons they report leaving service.
To build the force of the future, tackling these problems is imperative, especially when the generation coming of age today places a higher priority on work/life balance.
These Americans will make up 75 percent of the American workforce by 2025. Nearly 4 in 5 of them will have a spouse or a partner also in the workforce — twice the rate of baby boomers.
These Americans wait longer to have children, and when they do have children, they want to protect the dual earning power of their families to provide for their children accordingly.
We will address these generational changes in how we continue to recruit, retain and attract the best America has to offer by setting a more competitive standard across our joint force for parental leave, by making quality child care services more accessible and more flexible, by helping our men and — men and women meet current career demands while preserving their ability to start a family down the road, and by making an option available for troops to trade the ability to remain at a station of choice, at their commander’s discretion, for an additional service obligation.
Each of these initiatives is significant in its own right. Taken together, they will strengthen our competitive position in the battle for top talent, in turn guaranteeing our competitive position against potential adversaries.
The first initiative I’ll outline today involves providing a more competitive standard for maternity and paternity leave across our joint force. Today, I am setting 12 weeks of fully paid maternity leave as the standard across the joint force, doubling this benefit from six weeks when I entered office.
This puts DOD in the top tier of institutions nationwide, and will have significant influence on decision making for our military family members. Certainly, offering a more generous standard for maternity leave is imperative for attracting and retaining talent.
We see the same phenomenon year after year — women at peak ages for starting a family leave the military at the highest rates. Additionally, medical data also indicate this offering 12 weeks of maternity leave is also imperative to military mothers themselves.
They show — these medical data show that spending more time with infants and recovering from their pregnancies is, as a medical matter, very valuable to mothers to facilitate recovery, feeding, bonding, and more.
Private-sector data also strongly suggests a direct benefit on retention, and that employees who have access to and make use of parental leave perform better when they return to work. They stay with their organizations longer and are able to make greater contributions.
I reviewed studies, surveys and inputs from across the services, and evidence and perspectives from all parties concerned with this issue, and particularly the views of our Joint Chiefs of Staff. I’ve taken time to consider the diversity views and different data points on this important subject. I concluded that 12 weeks of maternity leave across all of the force establishes the right balance between offering a highly competitive leave policy while also maintaining the readiness of our total force.
And I don’t take lightly that 12 weeks of maternity leave represents a downshift from what the Navy pursued last summer, but I believe that we will be at the forefront in terms of competition, especially as part of the comprehensive basket of family benefits we’re providing across the joint force. And I should just note that for Navy mothers that are currently pregnant, we’ll ensure that they can take those 18 weeks of leave.
And we also realize, whether in raising a family or caring for an infant, this is not just a mother’s responsibility, which is why this year, we will seek authorities to increase paid paternity leave for new fathers from 10 to 14 days, which they can use in addition to annual leave. For those who want to become dads, or are about to, I want them to know this leave is available to them and I want them to make full use of it.
Second, and next, to build the force of the future, improvements to quality of life for military families must extend beyond the first critical months of parenthood. With the investments we’re making in child care, we will provide the men and women of our military greater flexibility to meet the demands of modern family life.
Now many within our force already benefit from some of the highest quality child care available, and DOD subsidizes the cost of child care to ensure that it’s affordable across the force, no matter what your rank. It’s one of the many areas where the military already stands apart. But today, nearly half of all military families have to rely on an additional child care provider to meet their needs, in part because the hours we provide don’t match their demanding schedules.
In some respects our child care options today reflect the needs of a different era, of a time when, for the vast majority of military families, only one parent worked outside the home. That’s a problem we need to address, and as we looked at this issue over the past nine months, we saw a link between dissatisfaction with child care and difficulties with retention. Whether for single parents, for families where both parents work outside the home or for every mother or father in our military, child care hours should be as responsive as possible to work demands.
Based on feedback, therefore, from surveys and pilot programs, and in the interest of responding to typical work hours at our installations, we will increase child care access to 14 hours a day across the force. By providing our troops with child care they can rely on, from before reveille to after taps, we provide one more reason for them to stay on board. We show them that supporting a family and serving our country are by no means incompatible goals.
Third, we can also make relatively inexpensive improvements so that our workplaces are more accommodating to women when they return from maternity leave, with a focus on making it easier for them to continue breast feeding if they choose. To make the transition between maternity leave and returning to work for military mothers smoother, to enhance our mission effectiveness, and to comply with standards that apply to nearly every organization outside the military, I am requiring that a mother’s room be made available at every facility with more than 50 women, which means the establishment of some 3,600 rooms across the country.
This is an issue, by the way, that my friend Sheryl Sandberg first illuminated for me, and I’m pleased to see that with these investments, we’ll make sure that we provide better options and choices for mothers across the force.
Fourth, we can also be more creative about making reasonable accommodations for members of our force who face difficult family geographic situations while at the same time, as is here as elsewhere, preserving our force’s effectiveness.
Data and surveys show that allowing family members to trade the ability to remain at a station of choice in exchange for an additional active duty service obligation is one approach that could increase retention, while preserving readiness.
Only in extreme circumstances are such arrangements currently made. But for a family who has a son or daughter who receives treatment at a particular hospital or who suffers from a particular disability, remaining longer in location where their specialized high-quality care can make a world of difference. Other families want to remain in one place longer to allow a son or daughter to finish high school in one place with friends, teachers and teams they’re close to. Or perhaps to be close to grandparents or other family. These are all important.
When the needs of the force permit a service member to stay at their current location, we will empower commanders to make reasonable accommodations, in exchange for an additional service obligation.
Finally, as a profession of arms, we ask our men and women to make incomparable sacrifices. We ask them, potentially, to place themselves at risk, of sacrificing their ability to have children when they return home. It’s clear that the benefits we offer our troops can better account for this.
We can help our men and women preserve their ability to start a family, even if they suffer certain combat injuries. That’s why we will cover the cost of freezing sperm or eggs through a pilot program for active duty service members — a benefit that will help provide men and women, especially those deployed in combat, with greater peace of mind. This investment will also provide greater flexibility for our troops who want to start a family, but find it difficult because of where they find themselves in their careers.
Particularly, for women who are mid-grade officers and enlisted personnel, this benefit will demonstrate that we understand the demands upon them and want to help them balance commitments to force and commitments to family. We want to retain them in our military.
We’re also committed to continuing to look at how we can provide advanced reproductive technologies like IVF to a wider population. Today, we provide reduced cost treatment at six locations across the country, and we will study how to broaden this coverage in the future.
By providing this additional peace of mind for our young service members, we provide our force greater confidence about their future, while providing one more tool to make the military a more family-friendly employer; an employer that honors the desire of our men and women to commit themselves completely to their careers, or to serve courageously in combat, while preserving their ability to have children in the future.
There’s no reform that we can make that will meet the particular circumstances of every military family, and ultimately there is no way to separate service from sacrifice. Military service will require uncommon dedication in every generation, including the coming generation. But I’ll mention just one story that helps capture the commitment of our service members and the complexity of starting and supporting a military family today.
When they met in Japan, Lieutenant Jack Eaves was a young service warfare officer. And Lieutenant Hannah Foster was serving as a judge advocate general in the Navy, having graduated from Princeton and Harvard, and clerked [SIC] for Justice Kagan.
Within days of first meeting, they were instantly taken with one another. In the next months, you might say their relationship developed quickly. But as Hannah said, quote, “In the Navy, it’s kinds of accelerated. You have to make decisions. You never know what will happen with your life,” unquote.
She was right to prepare for uncertainty, because a few months after they met, the horrific Japanese earthquake struck, and both were called to provide assistance at sea. And Jack subsequently had been ordered home in May. They didn’t know when they’d ever see each other.
In an exchange between ships, over e-mails, they made up their minds — they decided to get married.
Now, it wasn’t traditional, and it wasn’t easy, but they made it possible, and making wedding arrangements was just the beginning. They both wanted to start a family. But planning for when they would be in the same place and when they would be at stations long enough to be rated by commanding officers didn’t give them much time. They overcame challenges of distance and their limited months limited months together to make it work, and today, they have two wonderful children.
Hannah has recalled those critical moments when they were serving offshore, wondering, quote, “how long we’d be out to sea,” unquote. She was referring to their ships, but also their relationship, and whether something enduring was possible.
Hannah and Jack made it possible. They became lifelong partners. They have two kids, and their family’s off to a great start. But in the life of their young family and the life of their young careers, they could have used a little more support, and the same is true for so many of our military families.
At each stage of the game, Hannah and Jack had to worry about promotion boards, rating periods and additional calculations which made the first year of family life even more complex.
As we introduce today’s reform — reforms, our calculation is quite simple. We want our people to be able to balance two of the most solemn commitments they could ever make: a commitment to serve their country and a commitment to start and support a family.
And whether they’re soldiers, sailors, airmen or marines, with the investments we introduce today, we want to ensure that no military family finds itself at sea.
We want to make sure our troops have our support, and first and foremost that our force remains effective and always ready. With what I’ve announced today, I believe our military will be better prepared for the future, and my successor’s successors will continue to inherit the finest fighting force the world has ever known.
We will become a more powerful magnet for the high-end talent we will need in the coming generation. We will make it easier to retain the top talent we have and to develop future leaders.
We’ll improve the quality of life for our families and enhance our mission effectiveness. We’ll ensure the force of the future remains as great as the force of today. And I assure you there’ll be more initiatives to come.
So thank you very much. I look forward to answering your questions. Let me just say — Bob?
Q: Mr. Secretary, thank you.
A question for you about Afghanistan. This morning at his confirmation hearing, General Nicholson was asked about the situation with the Taliban, and he said the Taliban came at the Afghan forces more intensely than perhaps we anticipated, and because of that, we did not make the advances we projected, that we thought we would make.
And he also agreed with Senator McCain that the security situation is deteriorating. Is the Taliban, in fact, on a comeback? And does the U.S. military need to go at the Taliban more directly?
SEC. CARTER: Well, with respect to the Taliban coming back, that’s happened this past fighting season. We expected that, as widely observed and reported. And the Afghan security forces fought extremely well.
They are, however, a force in the making, as you know. So we expect the Afghan security forces to be stronger — much stronger this season than they were last season.
They would have been, by the way, yet stronger this past season, had it not taken so long for the political transition to occur in Afghanistan — we all know that.
And — but the Afghan forces continue to make progress, and they fought hard. (inaudible) — the Taliban fought hard, but the Afghan security forces fought hard, too. And they did so, this season, without the level of assistance that they got from the coalition in previous years, and they did well.
And we expect them to do well this year — this season also, because they have a bunch of new capabilities that have gotten delivered and they’re training on.
Now, it’s going to be tough, there’s no question about it. I was in Europe last week and met with President Ghani. He fully understands that, as does the CEO, Abdullah.
So we — we’re expecting a tough fighting season ahead. But the — the Afghan security forces are going to be tougher this season also. They — they — they fought hard this — this past season.
Q: (off mic) the second part of my question about whether the U.S. military needs to take a more direct role in combat against the Taliban.
SEC. CARTER: Well, we have rules of engagement now that have been very well thought through, that General Campbell has authority to use, that allow us to do what we think needs to be done.
Obviously we adjusted our plans — the president did — months ago in view of — of circumstances, and you can expect that that will occur in the future as well. He’s indicated as much.
And — and — and I — I need to emphasize, Bob, which I’m sure you know — which is we’re in this for the long run. That is, the president has made a commitment, and all the coalition members have to stick with Afghanistan. That’s not just for the year 2016. It’s the year 2017 and beyond.
So, for example, the funding for the Afghan security forces will be part of the FY ’17 overseas contingency operations budget that we submit. It will — all of the coalition partners have indicated they’re going to — that they’re going to make their contributions.
So the Afghan security forces are a force in building and it’s important that the investments continue to be made in that. Tara?
Q: (off mic) — being there for decades? Just a follow-up for what Bob was asking, do you anticipate U.S. forces being in Afghanistan for decades, as it —
SEC. CARTER: Well, I don’t know about — I don’t know about decades, but I’ll tell you one very positive thing about a presence in that part of the world. Here we have a government that welcomes a presence by the United States, has a strong posture towards terrorists, has a strong posture towards how it treats its population and how it wants to develop its economy in a part of the world that — where America has important interests. And so I — having a friend and a military partner in Afghanistan in the long run is a good outcome, just like we have with so many other countries around the world, very positive military-to-military relationships. Now Tara.
Q: Okay, thank you, Mr. Secretary. One on the initiative and then one on Libya. On the initiative, to remain at duty station, what kind of additional service obligation would a service member have to give? And if there was a family where both husband — both partners were serving, would they both have an additional service obligation?
And then on Libya, last week, General Dunford mentioned that the U.S. made the expanding its role against ISIS in Libya, and I’m wondering if you could expound upon that. Is the U.S. considering airstrikes against ISIS insurgent? If not, what sort of role would the U.S. have to counter the group’s growth in Libya?
SEC. CARTER: Okay. First with respect to the service obligation, that is a matter upon which the commander will have substantial discretion. That’s an important principle. And I want to emphasize something I said, which is we have to balance the flexibility here against our necessity as America’s fighting force to send people where they’re needed. And that’s why there’s a trade and that’s why there’s commander’s discretion. So it’s actually going to depend upon the circumstance.
We’ll give some broad guidelines — we’re working on them now — across the services. But it’s important that commanders have flexibility here for the very simple reason you can understand, which is we’ve got to have people go where they’re needed to defend us.
With respect to Libya, you know, we watch that situation very carefully. Obviously, I’ve talked about the need to destroy and defeat ISIL in Syria and Iraq, and I’ve always talked about the other metastasis, and one of the ones that we watch very closely is the one in Libya, and there’s a lot going on in Libya right now. Not of a military sort, but there’s a government in formation that the United States is supporting. Secretary Kerry and his people are supporting.
There is a troubled environment on the ground in which we’re watching that ISIL doesn’t sink roots. We’re not the only ones who are concerned, by the way — by the way, Libyans themselves, I should note, don’t welcome outsiders intruding on their territory, and that includes ISIL. So there are a number — there is a lot of civil war and disturbance going on in Libya.
But as a general matter, the populace is not welcoming of outsiders who come there, and that’s good. And, therefore, in the first instance we’re looking to help them get control over their own country and, of course, the United States will support the Libyan government when it forms.
I should say we’re not in the lead for doing that. The Italians are by who — by dint of both geography and history and the level of commitment have indicated that they’d take a lead in doing that. We have indicated we would support them. So we’re watching the situation very carefully, and there’s a lot going on there right now. But we haven’t made any decisions to take military action there.
We will continue to protect ourselves, take counterterrorism actions, you know we’ve taken some actions there in the last year. But it’s a situation that I think, as General Dunford has observed really, bears close watching and concern.
Let me see. Andrew ?
Q: On the maternity leave, as you mentioned, this policy you’re announcing today is going to significantly reduce what the Navy and Marine Corps gets from the current 18 weeks. Can you elaborate a little bit on why you thought 18 weeks was not appropriate for the entire force?
SEC. CARTER: Well, in determining this — by the way, for the entire joint force. We looked for a standard that would be — and 12 weeks is extremely generous by any — it puts us in the very top tiers of American employers.
But then, you have to balance that against the readiness costs associated with it. So, we leaned very far forward, and this puts us in a very far forward position. But I came to the conclusion that 12 was the right number here, as we struck that balance. I thought it was important that we have the same standard across the joint force. And then, just — I want to repeat something I said, out of fairness to individuals who have been affected by the temporary action of the Navy, we’ll make sure that they’re — they have this — the benefit that they were promised if it affects them.
But 12 is a — by all of our internal data, by external comparison and by balancing the benefit in terms of force retention — remember, that’s our objective — against loss of readiness and a single standard across the joint force, that’s the right place we landed. And that’s what I thought, and that’s what all of our joint chiefs of staff and the chairman thought as well.
Jennifer? You are sneaking in — you can.
Q: Can I take you back to the incident with Iran and the ten U.S. sailors?
SEC. CARTER: Sure.
Q: Did Iran violate international law by detaining the U.S. sailors, and how did you feel when you saw the video with your sailors with their hands up, being held at gun point?
SEC. CARTER: Well, the second part’s easy. I was very, very angry at it. And I’m not going give you the international law answer, but I can tell you, Americans wouldn’t have done that. I said that before that for me as secretary of defense — I think it’s probably true of everybody in the department — to see our guys in that situation on Iranian TV, that’s really not okay. And we — again, we would not have done that.
And I asked everybody at the time, and I hope everybody keeps that in mind as you think about that, remember as you’re thinking about our guys that you’re looking through the lens of the Iranians. So, they are being debriefed and explaining what the circumstances and so forth.
Our first interest for their guys was their own health and welfare. The Navy has been attending to that, and that’s important. But — this is not the way they should have been treated, and it’s very — for certain not the way Americans would have treated foreign sailors in a comparable circumstance.
Q: Did the U.S. sailors behave appropriately from your point of view?
SEC. CARTER: They — you know, you’re looking through the — this is why it’s important to remember, you’re looking through the lens of an Iranian — I have no reason to believe anything else. And they — this was a situation in which they were — that they were put into coercively, and then filmed, again, not something we would ever do.
Q: Secretary Carter, just to follow-up on earlier questions regarding Afghanistan and then Libya. There was also discussion at the confirmation hearing this morning of the potential need — whether — the question of whether or not there’s a need to expand the pace of American air operations in Afghanistan, and expand the circumstances in which air strikes are authorized in Afghanistan.
Do you believe that the pace of air operations in Afghanistan needs to be picked up, and that the circumstances in which they can occur should be expanded? And then on Libya —
SEC. CARTER: Well, let me just — one at a time. Let me see, just before I forget.
For Afghanistan, General Campbell already has significant discretion in that regard. And — and — and obviously we’re constantly considering what we’re doing there.
But I think the biggest uptick you’re going to see in the coming season, in terms of close air support for the Afghan security force, is going to come from the Afghans themselves, because of the upgrades we’re making in their helicopter force, which come online, because of the delivery of A-29s, which just landed at Kabul International Airport, (inaudible), two weeks ago, because their increased use of their most effective form of direct fire, which is long-range artillery.
So for all those reasons, the — the — the indirect fire support for Afghan operations in this fighting season will be much more — much stronger than it was in the last — completely independent of American participation.
And then — then what was the other one, Libya?
Q: On Libya, yeah. Do you think that there needs to be a government actually formed and in place before there’s additional American action against the Islamic State — military action? And can you give us a —
SEC. CARTER: No. No, no, no, no. No. I don’t want to give that impression, because remember, we’ve taken action against the Islamic State. We have to protect ourselves, and there’s no question about that.
But it’s also true that we’re supportive of government formation, and if there’s government formation, that gives us new opportunities, which are to support a — the security forces of the government, who themselves, we expect, will want to expel ISIL from their own territory.
So, it’s very much to be welcomed if there is government formation, because of the expectation that — that that government, with our help — remember, the Italians indicated they’ll be in the lead, but — but with the help of the international community and international coalition, we’ll expel ISIL from their territory, which — that’s — that’s the outcome that we’re — we’re looking for.
Q: Can I follow up on that for a minute? When you look at Libya and — and you talked about, you know, the need to protect — protect ourselves, what’s your sense of the real threat that ISIS in Libya does pose at the moment?
What’s their capability? What threat do they pose to the United States? Can you talk a little bit about how big this effort is that the —
SEC. CARTER: I’m going to be careful, because I don’t want to go into intelligence matters. But as general characterization, they are trying to consolidate their own footprint there, and they’re very focused on that.
We’re monitoring that. That’s a concern to us, because ISIL obviously tries to destabilize places where — where they are. And ISIL around the world has indicated that part of its ideology is to attack Westerners, including Americans.
So we have to look at this with great concern, and that is why we’ve taken some action already in Libya against ISIL members, because of the threat they pose to the United States.
Q: When you say consolidate their footprint in Libya, can we make sure we understand what you mean there?
SEC. CARTER: It means — it means — it means —
Q: Do you think they’re trying to develop a capability, command, control — be able to launch attacks from Libya? What do — what do you mean?
SEC. CARTER: Well, they’re establishing the — installations where they train people. They’re welcoming foreign fighters to flock there, the way, in years past, they did in Syria and Iraq. And they’re trying to take over the reins of — of the economy and tax it the way you see ISIL doing in — so you see the same kind of ambitions — ambitions on their part that you see realized in full flower in Syria and Iraq.
And we don’t want to be on a glide slope to a situation like Syria and Iraq. That’s the reason why we’re watching it that closely. That’s the reason why we develop options for what we might do in the future.
Q: Thank you, sir.
Can we go back to Afghanistan? Has General Campbell indicated that he needs more than 9,800 troops that he has now to — to complete his mission? And would you be supportive of adding troops?
SEC. CARTER: He has not indicated more than 9,800 — 9,800, by the way, is the number this year. We would always consider requests from — from command — that’s why he’s there.
And, by the way, John Campbell is exceptional. We’ve had — we’ve been really lucky. We’ve had an unbelievable string of commanders in Afghanistan, of which J.C. Campbell is the latest one.
But we always listen to them and always consider their requests. That’s my job. My — I’m the open door for commanders to tell us what they think we need, and then we consider that, and eventually if I — if I agree with it and with — on the chairman’s advice and so forth, we take it to the president. That’s just — that’s just normal.
Q: One more question? Mr. Secretary, many of the things you discussed today, whether it’s adding child — more child care hours or increasing fighting against ISIS or keeping troops in Afghanistan longer all are going to require more money, yet your budget is still capped here. How do you plan to find the extra funding for all these initiatives?
SEC. CARTER: Well, for the initiatives I announced today, you’ve got a couple of different things going there. So with respect to what we’ve been talking about counter ISIL and so forth, that is funded in OCO, it’s budgeted separately, I’m sure you know that.
With respect to the initiatives I announced today, in every case, we looked very carefully at the costs, which are sometimes not monetary costs, but they’re costs in terms of — pardon me; I always tell Peter there’s something about this room. Lost man-hours and we did calculate them. And that’s one of the reasons why you’re always trying to find the sweet spot in a personnel management decision between additional cost and quality retention. Because remember, it’s a huge loss to us when we have someone who’s been with us for a number of years and has reached a level of proficiency in contribution to the force and then decides to leave. So that’s the reason why it’s — we are so intent upon making these investments.
So all of these are in the — will be in the services budget and incorporated in the — in the service budgets. The wars as you — as you well know, are funded separately.
Q: Do you project a major spike in that OCO funding to address this — these increased operations for the war?
SEC. CARTER: Well, we’re going to submit a budget based upon our anticipated needs over the next year. Now, it’s in the nature of OCO — OCO is supposed to be responsive to what really happens. So our experience with OCO is sometimes, if you go back over the last number of years, sometimes there’s been more and sometimes, actually, there’s been money that Congress has taken back at the end of the year because it hasn’t been expended.
So the theory of OCO is variable costs that cannot be built in and predicted. And this year won’t be any different from any other year, we’ll just have to see how it goes.
STAFF: Thank you, everyone.
SEC. CARTER: Listen, thank you all very much for coming. I really appreciate it.
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