Following are the highlights of Ash Carter’s Speech at the Reagan Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
I’m committed to overseeing the orderly transfer to the next commander in chief.
Let me also congratulate General Jim Mattis for being chosen to take my place. I’ve worked with Jim for many years. He’s a friend and I hold him in the highest regard.
Russia’s aggression and provocations appear to be driven by misguided ambitions and misplaced resentment.
NATO will be critical to preserving collective defense in the face of new and renewed threats.
Everything the United States is doing, both on its own and with NATO, will ensure that we continue to stand up to Russian aggression and that we’re ready for longer term competition.
We don’t seek an enemy in Russia. But make no mistake — we will defend our allies, the principled international order, and the positive future it affords all of us.
But there will still be much more to do after that to make sure that, once defeated, ISIL stays defeated. We’ll need to continue to counter foreign fighters trying to escape and ISIL’s attempts to relocate or reinvent itself. To do so, not only the United States but our coalition must endure and remain engaged militarily.
In Iraq in particular, it will be necessary for the coalition to provide sustained assistance and carry on our work to train, equip and support local police, border guards and other forces to hold areas cleared from ISIL.
I’ve worked with Jim for many years, he’s a friend, and I hold him in the highest regard.