General Martin Dempsey’s Letter to the Joint Force

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey delivers remarks during the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff change of responsibility ceremony at Summerall Field, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Sept. 30, 2011. Dempsey, the18th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, succeeded Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, outgoing chairman, during the ceremony. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey

It is an honor to be the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  I am thankful for the opportunity to continue to serve with you.

The most important thing I want you to know is that I trust you to do what’s right for each other and for our country.

Thanks for your service.  You have fought harder and your families have sacrificed more than most will ever know.  You make us the finest military on the planet.  We’re powerful, versatile, responsive, and resilient.  We are admired by our allies and partners, and we are dreaded by our enemies.  You are our decisive advantage.

To ensure we remain the Joint Force our nation needs, I’ll focus on a few key themes as I begin my time as Chairman.

We must achieve our national objectives in the current conflicts.  As long as our forces remain in harm’s way, we must ensure they have what they need to succeed.

We must look beyond our current requirements—to 2020—and develop Joint Force 2020 to provide the greatest possible number of options for our nation’s leaders and to ensure our nation remains immune from coercion.  Keeping our military the best led, best trained, and best equipped force in the world is the non-negotiable imperative.  Doing so in a new fiscal environment will be hard, but we’ve overcome similar challenges in our past, and the nation is counting on us to overcome them again.

We must renew our commitment to the Profession of Arms.  We’re not a profession simply because we say we’re a profession.  We must continue to learn, to understand, and to promote the knowledge, skills, attributes, and behaviors that define us as a profession.

And, of course, we must keep faith with our Military Family.  Our active, guard and reserve service members, our wounded warriors, our families, and our veterans deserve the future they have sacrificed to secure.

Continue mission!  I am proud to serve with you.

MARTIN E. DEMPSEY
General, U.S. Army