On Friday, July 27, 2012 in San Francisco at Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel, the Commonwealth Club and the Marines Memorial Association hosted General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He spoke on “Current International Security Challenges and the Future of the U.S.” with George Scalise, President of Semiconductor Industry Association. Dempsey was wrapping up a tour in Silicon Valley after meeting the staff of Facebook and other high tech companies. He thinks they should be thinking about the future at least as much as the military does.
Earlier this week, Dempsey oversaw the changeover in command at the Defense Intelligence Agency from Burgess to Flynn. It is part of a larger process of better cooperation between the military and civilians to speed up the gathering and acting upon timely intelligence using emerging technology.
He also spoke about the military shift from the Middle East to the Asia Pacific region. While some see this as a way to contain China’s growing influence, he thinks it would be unusual if the United States did not have any presence in the region. The challenge will be to do this with smaller budgets and fewer personnel. America has over 300 million people but fewer than three million active and reserve duty personnel. The all volunteer military is more diverse and far different than the days of the draft. Professional soldiers have more training to operate complex equipment in chaotic situations. Even if there were a draft, only one in four young people can meet the all the physical and academic requirements to serve. A military is only as strong as the citizens it defends.
At a press conference afterwards, Mark Matthews of ABC KGO-TV asked about the recent trouble at Lackland Air Force Base. I recommend checking Matthews report on this. Jeff King of CNN was there as well. At a later funny moment, Dempsey wryly commented on my camera as being very “stealthy.” If it really were, he would not have noticed it. I hope he enjoys the pictures.
Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.