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Immediate Release

Statement From Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Welcoming Home General Scott Miller

I was pleased this morning to welcome home Gen. Scott Miller and his staff.  On Monday, Gen. Miller concluded his nearly three-year tour as Commander of United States Forces-Afghanistan, and turned those responsibilities over to Gen. Frank McKenzie.  

As Gen. McKenzie noted during the turnover ceremony, Scott Miller was the right leader at the right time. Not only did he plan and lead the complex withdrawal of millions of tons of equipment and thousands of personnel, his team did so with the understanding that speed was of the essence.  Speed is safety.  And it largely for this reason that this truly historic feat has thus far been conducted without a single casualty.

Equally important are the tireless efforts Gen. Miller has undertaken these last three years to secure our hard-fought interests in Afghanistan, as well as those of our NATO Allies, Coalition partners, and Afghan partners. His exceptional operational acumen and strategic vision has helped ensure that America will not be threatened by terrorist networks emanating from within Afghanistan.

Scott and his staff are home now, and we are grateful for their safe return.  But our mission in Afghanistan is not over.  The drawdown continues and will be complete by the end of August.

DOD remains committed to protecting our diplomatic presence in country, continuing to provide funding to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and advising to Afghan security ministries, and preventing the re-emergence of violent extremist organizations.

We will also be working closely with the State Department to help re-locate those Afghans and their families who have been of such service to our mission.  We take seriously our obligation to them, and we honor their contributions.

As we have over the last 20 years, so must we continue to honor the service and sacrifice of those who have performed so bravely in the field.  They and their families have struggled and sacrificed on our behalf.  In many ways they still do.  But they also have much for which to be proud.

That we have not been attacked from Afghanistan since 9-11, that the Afghan government now has the opportunity to advance the progress which has been made in their country, and that the Afghan forces now have in their possession the capabilities – the advantages – they need to defend their people all stands as testament to the skill, professionalism and courage of our troops and those of our allies.