Defense Secretary visits Osan AB

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jake Barreiro
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited Osan Air Base, April 9, where he held a troop call and briefly spoke about the importance of the United States' role in Asia.

During his address, Carter spoke about the importance of the U.S.'s alliance with the Asia/Pacific region--Korea in particular--readiness, the Defense Department’s priority of attracting and retaining the best service members possible, and the importance of security.

After his speech, Carter took questions from the audience and addressed topics of rotating forces to South 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," Carter said.

Retirement compensation will not be coercively changed for any active service members, Carter said. Although the 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," he said.

Ultimately, the 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," he said.

When 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," Carter said. "This is a demanding theater with one-half of the world's wealth and population."

Above all, Carter said that the U.S.’s alliance with South 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.

After speaking, Carter thanked and coined the more than 200 service members in attendance.