Dempsey Urges Reporters to Remain Connected to Military
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 18, 2011 Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey today challenged reporters to figure out how the press will stay connected with the military as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was the keynote speaker during the annual meeting of the Military Reporters and Editors group here.
The press is part of the way the military interacts with America, and it is a method for service members worldwide to obtain information about significant issues, Dempsey said.
Military/media connections have been massive since the 9/11 attacks and subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“You’ve embedded with us; we’ve been a constant source of interest to you because we’ve been doing some pretty interesting things; you’ve helped us connect to America,” he said. “All this helped you understand who we are, so we can tell our story.”
But what happens when the trumpets fade and the combat mission transforms to security assistance and training and readiness activities?
“Those are not really headline-grabbing things,” the chairman said. “The question I would ask you to think about is … how do we build upon the relationship that … we have forged over the past 10 years … and keep that aligned?”
From the military’s perspective, Dempsey believes that moving forward, the press “has to be interested in things that don’t go bang in the night. You are going to have to get interested in other ways to discuss what the military provides the nation.”
“Prepare, prevent, deter,” Dempsey said, is the military’s mantra. Failing that, he said, the military has to prevail in wars, which is what the troops have been doing since 9-11.
“We’re going to go back to a lot of prevent and deter,” he said. “I hope you are interested in it, because if we’re good at it, maybe we won’t have to do as much of the other stuff.”