Secretary Pompeo Delivers Remarks at the U.S. Army War College

Secretary Pompeo Delivers Remarks at the U.S. Army War College

August 17, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning, everyone. AUDIENCE: Good morning. SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Jaymie, too for
the kind introduction. Thanks to my – I was going to say old, but
I’ll say long-time friend General Kem, because it would date me if I said he was old. It’s good. By the way, as the Secretary of State, you
know it’s all about leverage, and as we were talking about our time, we were both
in the same cadet company, Company C-3 back in the day, and we were deciding who had leverage
on whom and we both decided we would disengage, at least for this morning. (Laughter.) Thanks too to Ambassador Koran, who’s at
State Department and serving here at the Army War College. I know you came from Africa. This is a very different place, much – I
don’t know if it’s calmer, but it’s more beautiful in every respect. I have a tradition. My wife loves animals. We have dogs. We tend to name them after generals. Our current golden retriever is Sherman. I know some of you are from Georgia, so I
thought I would not talk about him this morning. (Laughter.) But the dog before that was Patton, and I
do want to talk about General Patton just a bit. He was almost mythical, for sure, as a commander
in World War II. Some of his training occurred right here at
the Army War College. And he joined the great Kansan Dwight Eisenhower
and General Colin Powell on a list of famous people who have come before you all, so I
think about this when I walk the halls of State Department: Madison, Jefferson, Pompeo. No pressure on you all either. (Laughter.) The world has changed. The geopolitical circumstances have certainly
changed. New weapons, new technology, the methods of
warfare are different. But what has – fundamentally has not changed
and will not change is the massive need for leadership, both military and civilian, both
here at home and abroad. Leaders’ defining qualities haven’t changed
much either. You all possess those qualities. You would not have been invited to be here
without that. And as a former Army officer myself, I must
say I think that’s great, congratulations, you all earned it, but I did not come here
today to pat you on the back. The truth is you all will be tested again,
and I am confident it will be soon. We don’t know how, we don’t know where,
we don’t know precisely the challenge you will face, but I can assure you it will come
before you. Many of you will leave the life you spent
in a particular branch or particular service to a larger role. And your mission will require you to expand
your capabilities. And indeed, I want to talk about today how
your life and mine, the role of those of us at the State Department with those in other
branches of government, intersect. I’m a Cabinet Secretary today, not a tank
officer, but I can assure you I still need protection. It’s not armor anymore, but you will need
the ability to lead in a way that is unique to you but not unique all across the United
States Government. I must say – I tell my team this and you
would all know it because I do it publicly as well – I talk about how important it
is what we do at the State Department. We can keep men and women serving in uniform
all across the world safe, we can cause them to have to work a little less hard and take
a little less risk with the flip side being that we can’t be successful at that without
you having an enormous level of preparedness, of readiness, and leadership. We need the credible threat of the capacity
for America to project its military power in order for our diplomatic efforts to have
the opportunity to succeed in the hardest places all around the world. You all know too that it is key to governance
and stability in so many places around the world that our organizations – the State
Department, Department of Defense – work together. I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about how I’ve seen it manifest. I saw it when I was a member of Congress,
I saw it when I was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and I certainly see it
today. We’ve seen it for two decades, frankly,
in Iraq and Afghanistan – Foreign Service officers, military personnel cooperating rather
than competing for influence. Lots of places. The fight against ISIS where, thanks to some
enormously good work by some incredibly capable military leaders, the ISIS has been – ISIS
caliphate has been taken down. And at the same time, I have officers on the
ground today in Syria playing a role, a crucial role, distributing foreign aid, working to
rebuild, working to develop a diplomatic resolution that will create a more stable Syria. And two, we are engaged in the fight, as I
know you are, countering the ideology which drove that caliphate. Those are external joint efforts, things we
work on in the field facing with our partners and allies around the world. I want to talk about internal cooperation
that we do as well. We do it, you see, in exchange programs – I
know we have officers here today. This is a vital piece of the State-Defense
connection. And then I want to close with this – and
then I know I’m going to get a chance to take questions from you and I look forward
to that. This chain goes back a long time, and we have
a duty, indeed an intense obligation, to continue to build that chain. It goes back to at least 1903, when President
Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, witnessed the laying of a cornerstone here at the War College. He was addressing men and women like you,
and he called for America to promote peace around the globe, saying, quote, “Not in
the spirit of the weakling and… craven, but with the assured self-confidence of the
just man armed.” Now, a little more than a century on, American
diplomats are acting out Teddy Roosevelt’s call for peace, but the just men armed are
the leverage that we need. When you leave here to take on your larger
role, your responsibilities, the stakes are enormously high, and I’ll talk about that
in response to your questions. In fact, remember we as diplomats are your
partners. Trust us. We’ll earn that, and we in turn will trust
you as well. Our objectives are absolutely the same: projecting
strength and effective peace. And I hope, too, you’ll take the message
from Teddy Roosevelt as well as from General Patton – the general, not the dog, of course. We should all be proud of achieving these
joint objectives together. Thanks for having me today, and I’ll look
forward to your questions. (Applause.)