Defense Department News

Carter Outlines Pre-Inauguration Priorities to Reporters

Nov. 16, 2016 | BY Karen Parrish

In the run-up to Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th U.S. president, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said yesterday that there are two things on which he’s “completely focused.”

Defense Secretary Ash Carter shakes hands with Marines before observing a training exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif., Nov. 15, 2016. DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith
Defense Secretary Ash Carter shakes hands with Marines before observing a training exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif., Nov. 15, 2016. DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith
Defense Secretary Ash Carter shakes hands with Marines before observing a training exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif., Nov. 15, 2016. DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith
Marine Meeting
Defense Secretary Ash Carter shakes hands with Marines before observing a training exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif., Nov. 15, 2016. DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith
Photo By: Sgt. Amber I. Smith
VIRIN: 161115-D-SV709-001

In the weeks to come, all government agencies, including the Defense Department, will undergo significant changes as the new presidential administration assumes office. DoD is not taking the responsibility lightly, Carter assured media representatives yesterday during a visit to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California.

Carter said his first priority is “continuing to make sure that we're meeting all of our challenges today, which includes the destruction of [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] in Iraq and Syria, standing strong against the potential of aggression everywhere else around the world, and continuing to build the most innovative and powerful military in the world.”

The defense secretary said his second priority is “helping the president-elect and his team undergo an orderly transition, and I'm responsible for the Defense Department to oversee that transition.”

Carter noted, “We've done that before. We're committed to doing that with the excellence with which our department does everything else, and to help President-elect Trump hit the ground running as our commander in chief in the best way we possibly can. Those are the things I'm focused on.”

Carter is on a multiday trip focusing on warfighter readiness, training and equipment that will also take him to Texas and Florida.

(Follow Karen Parrish on Twitter: @DoDNewsKParrish)