DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHRISTINE FOX: Thanks to all of you. Why don't you sit down and make yourselves comfortable.
Well, what a pleasure it is to be here with all of you. I want to just sort of tell you what it means to be the acting deputy secretary of defense. So what you want to think about is the secretary of defense, Secretary Hagel, is the CO of the entire Defense Department. And in that scenario, I'm his XO . So, just as you know about CO's and XO's, he gets to do a lot of really fun stuff, and I'm chained to a desk. That's really the way that it works.
But he let me out of the Pentagon today to come and see you, and what a privilege it is. So I'm really, really fortunate to be here. And I want to just start by thanking each and every one of you for everything that you do for our nation. It's a great nation, and it's great because of people like you. And I can't tell you how much I have seen of that just in my short visit here today.
The First Infantry Division has this incredible rich history that I've been reading about a little bit and hearing more about from General Funk. But it is - it is incredible that your history goes all the way back to World War I, and then incredible accomplishments in World War I, II, the Korea War, Vietnam, the first Gulf War, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. So I'm not old enough to analyze all of those, but I know a lot of those. And your contributions are phenomenal. So very, very impressive.
You know, the nation has really focused an awful lot of its attention appropriately, deservedly on our mission in Afghanistan. But your current work as a regionally aligned force, in addition to the work that you're doing on complex operations and the full spectrum of warfare, really represents the future of our army. And it's really a privilege to be here today to learn about how you're doing that, how you're focusing on these regionally aligned forces, the excitement of those missions, and how you're doing that and keeping current on global operations and your ability to respond globally.
I do want to recognize that the Army has been bearing the brunt of the recent conflicts. The uncommon valor of our soldiers has really been brought home to me in the years that I've been actually in the Defense Department. The contributions and just - amazing willingness to support and supply your valor is truly impressive. And I want to honor that and I want to thank you for that. And I want you to know that it's on my mind and the Secretary's mind every single day.
So I know you know your part of the great joint force that supports all of what we do. And I also want to honor the fact that all of you, all of your families, have supported all of us as well. And I know your families each made sacrifices just as all of you. So thank you to your families. When you go home tonight, say thank you to your families on my behalf, if you will. I would really appreciate it.
So we face a lot of new challenges, and we face a lot of new opportunities, both at home and abroad. And I'm just so happy to be here, and I have complete confidence the First Infantry Division will continue to demonstrate that it places duty first.