SIGONELLA NAVAL AIR STATION, Italy, December 5, 2015 —
Following Defense Secretary
Ash Carter's announcement Dec. 3 that all military specialities would be open to
women, it is the responsibility of all in the military to ensure that the integration process is done
well, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.
Marine Corps Gen.
Joseph F. Dunford spoke to reporters here while on the first stop of his
multi-day, three-continent trip with the 2015 USO Entertainment Troupe.
“As the senior
military advisor and the senior uniformed leader, it’s my job now to assist the
secretary with full implementation to make sure that we do it in a way that
maintains our combat effectiveness, maintains the health and welfare of our
troops and takes advantage of the talent of all the men and women that we have
in uniform,” the chairman said. “So we are getting after that now.”
When the general
served as the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the service asked for exceptions
for infantry and special operations forces. Carter examined the plans for
integration of women into all specialties provided to him by each service and
concluded a good implementation process would overcome the concerns expressed
by the Marine Corps.
Next, each of the military
departments will provide the defense secretary with their implementation plans by
Jan. 1. “My role is to assist the secretary in overseeing the implementation of
the plan for the force,” he said. “That’s what he has tasked me to do and I
look forward to doing that.”
Italy Base ‘Critical’ to Objectives
discussed with reporters the critical role played by Signonella Naval Air
Station in U.S. and European objectives in Africa and the Middle East. The
United States is an integral nation in the anti-terror coalition and, he said,
the base right in the middle of the Mediterranean is key. “It’s a hub,” the
“The United States
is taking actions both in Africa and the Middle East and working cooperatively
with our coalition partners and allies to exchange information and ensure that
we build a coalition to deal with the challenges,” Dunford said.
Sigonella has a traditional
mission to fly P-3 Orions over the Mediterranean and keep track of the naval
activity in the region. There is also a growing intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance mission on the base that supports U.S. and coalition goals.
The base also
houses a special purpose Marine air-ground task force, ready for operations
throughout the region. The unit’s placement is driven by its capabilities and
response time. “It’s split between here and Moron [Air Base], Spain, and can be
prepositioned in Africa should indications and warnings drive us to do that,”
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