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DOD Leaders Bid Farewell to Former Deputy Secretary

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

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13, 2011 – Defense Department leaders honored the service of former deputy secretary of defense, William J. Lynn III, in a Pentagon ceremony here today, and bid him farewell as he retires to private life.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Former Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III, left, talks with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, before attending a farewell ceremony in Lynn's honor at the Pentagon, Oct. 13, 2011. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed their gratitude for Lynn’s service to the department, most recently his term as deputy secretary.

“We really are thankful for his service to this department,” Panetta said. “I’m personally thankful for the service he gave me as deputy.”

“I also want to thank you, Bill, for your service to the nation – not only as deputy secretary of defense, but in the many roles that you’ve played throughout your career,” he said.

The chairman thanked Lynn on behalf of service members and their families.

“We deeply thank you for what you’ve done for all of us who wear the uniforms and our families,” Dempsey said. “And therefore, for your [service to the] nation and keeping it strong.”

“You’ve been pushing us on the leading edge of technology and cyber information and all of the things that mark us now as a different kind of military than we were 10 years ago, and certainly than we were 32 months ago when you became the deputy secretary of defense,” he said.

Panetta lauded Lynn for his service to five secretaries of defense, and honored his years of public service.

“As deputy secretary, that role, by its very definition, is the chief management officer of the world’s largest organization, and that’s truly what the Pentagon is,” Panetta said. “He took on a portfolio of tremendous breadth, and tremendous complexity.

“In doing so, he became truly an indispensible figure here because of his experience, because of his great knowledge of the intricacies of the department, and because of his good common sense,” he said.

Panetta cited Lynn’s key role in shaping policies, which would later help DOD handle tough issues.

“He was a person who was at the center, who helped shape the department’s approach to all of the key challenges that it faced,” he said. “And Bill’s service really coincided with an era of enormous consequence for our country, and for our military.”

“In a time of two wars, in many ways, he helped steer the department to turning the corner to reorient the force, to confront new threats while helping us adjust to new budget realities,” the secretary said.

Panetta also recognized Lynn for one of his most critical contributions – as the lead architect on cyber security.

“As you know, I believe cyber to be the battlefield of the future,” Panetta said. “It is, without question, a challenging area that we have to address both defensively and offensively.”

“When Bill arrived at the Pentagon, I think most people still had not yet fully reckoned with what cyber meant for our military, and the threat that it posed,” he said.

“And now, thanks to his efforts, we are well on our way … that strategy is truly historic for this department, elevating cyberspace as a fifth domain of operations for our military alongside land, air, sea and space,” Panetta said.

Lynn reflected on his time as deputy secretary, and the impact of his experiences.

“This has been the greatest privilege and honor of my life to serve as deputy secretary of defense,” he said. “The issues that the deputy deals with go to the heart of our national security, and particularly to the health and strength of our armed forces.”

Lynn said he was in “awe” while visiting deployed troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, “deeply moved” while visiting wounded warriors, and “humbled” by the strength of military families.

He also praised civil servants for their commitment, and thanked the various undersecretaries for their support.

“I’ve admired the dedication of our civil servants who, a decade after 9/11, return every morning to a building that was brutally attacked,” he said.

Lynn said he is confident in the department with its leadership, and recognized his successor, Ashton B. Carter.

“The issues are tough, but I know I leave the department in good hands because of the strength of the leadership team,” he said. “Ash, I know you’re going to be a terrific deputy secretary of defense.”


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