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Media Availability with Secretary Carter at the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex, Mountain View, California

Aug. 29, 2015
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter; Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook

PETER COOK:  Everyone just -- I'm Peter Cook.  I'm the Pentagon press secretary.  We're about half an hour behind schedule, so I hate to say it -- this has to be very quick.  So I'm going to hand the -- and if the print folks could take a step to the side so the cameras can get a clear shot.

Thanks, everyone. 

Mr. Secretary, the podium is yours.  I'll call on folks.  The secretary is going to make a brief opening statement. 

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASH CARTER:  Hi.  Thanks to all of you for being here. 

This visit represents an effort that I launched a few months, ago, shortly after I became secretary of defense, to make sure that we continue to build bridges and strengthen the link between Silicon Valley and the Pentagon.  That's a link that has served our country and our industry and technology very well for decades, and we are determined to continue to strengthen it.  We do that by listening to one another, collaborating with one another, working on common problems and concerns, taking on new technological frontiers. 

Right here today, including with funding from the Department of Defense, we started a new manufacturing innovation institute on flexible hybrid electronics right here in Silicon Valley.  This was the place that won competitively the award for that, and this is what's going to pioneer this particular area of technology going forward. 

But there are lots of frontiers of technology, and our country, both for our people, the American Dream, and for the defense of our people and what we stand for, needs to be at the frontiers of technology. 

And with that, I'll be happy to take your questions. 

MR. COOK:  Right here. 

Q:  Mr. Secretary, give us a sense of how you're going to measure success here?  By the number of jobs created?  By the amount of projects that come out of the pipeline?  By how many projects are specifically created for DOD? 

SEC. CARTER:  I would say in two ways. 

The question was, how are we going to measure success here? 

First is by the number of new ideas and new technologies that are created here through partnerships between us and companies and institutions here in the valley.  That can be a funding relationship.  It can be one where we are the -- where we buy products and where we sponsor research here, so they'll be a number of ways which involve investment by us. 

The other one, though, is people. I want people to go back and worth.  Talented people to come and have a time where they get to contribute to the great mission of national security, and be part of something bigger than themselves.  That's why people come to Silicon Valley, because they want to be -- they care about the whole world, and they want to be part of something consequential.  We offer them that, and very interesting problems. 

And I want our government people to get to know what's happening in the tech community better, so it's both an investment in technology thing and a people thing. 

MR. COOK:  (inaudible)? 

Q:  Sir, the culture of Washington and the culture of (inaudible) are very different -- 

SEC. CARTER:  Sure. 

Q: -- the culture of Silicon Valley, and you know this very well, because you come from both worlds. 

How do you bridge those cultures? 

SEC. CARTER:  I had lived on both sides of what I think of as a wall that's too big, between the Pentagon on the one hand and Silicon Valley and the innovation community on the other.  Having lived on both sides, I know something about how to reduce the height of that wall, but I'm also in a hurry, so I'm going to dig some tunnels in that wall.  And how do you do that?  Well, you try -- you make our department more agile in how it invests in companies, and you create internships and ex-ternships, ways that people from the valley can spend a little time working national security problems, and people from the government can spend some time learning how the tech industry works and its innovative culture. 

MR. COOK:  He's got time for one more. 

Q:  Mr. Secretary, different topic.  There's a new book out that details special operation raids, recent ones, including the Bin Laden raid and (inaudible).  It raises new concerns, again, about that community, leaking, speaking about classified information. 

Is DOD going to investigate classified leaks again with this new, latest book? 

And what's your sense of balancing the need for secrecy versus the need for openness in this new era where special operation missions are so prevalent in the (inaudible)? 

SEC. CARTER:  I haven't read this book and I can't comment on this particular book.  

Obviously it's not up to any individual who is entrusted with national security secrets to disclose them, and especially where it would affect the ability to protect our people and our country, or compromise secrets. 

So again, I can't speak to this particular case.  I have not read the book. 

MR. COOK:  Mr. Secretary -- that's -- I'm sorry, everyone.  We're about a half hour late, so the secretary has got to get over DIUX.  For those of you that are going to be over there, we'll see you over there. 

Thank you.