Posts Tagged ‘National Security

23
Jun
10

President Obama on Afghanistan, General McChrystal & General Petraeus

NEWS
President Obama on Afghanistan, General McChrystal & General Petraeus

Obama relieves McChrystal of command
Gen. David Petraeus named to take over troubled Afghan war

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The White House says the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan made an ‘enormous mistake’ in an unflattering magazine article, and ‘all options are on the table’ with regard to General Stanley McChrystal’s job.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs repeatedly refused on Tuesday to say that McChrystal is safe in his post or could be considered by President Barack Obama to continue as an effective commander in Afghanistan.

The president summoned McChrystal to Washington to attend, in person, on Wednesday a meeting on the war and explain the comments in the story.
“We’ll have more to say after that meeting,” Gibbs said of McChrystal’s future.

In one part of the story, McChrystal complained about Obama’s preparedness in one of their first meetings. Gibbs responded tartly to that: “He’ll have his undivided attention tomorrow.”

This afternoon the President spoke on new leadership for the mission in Afghanistan, full remarks below:

Good afternoon. Today I accepted General Stanley McChrystal’s resignation as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. I did so with considerable regret, but also with certainty that it is the right thing for our mission in Afghanistan, for our military, and for our country.

I’m also pleased to nominate General David Petraeus to take command in Afghanistan, which will allow us to maintain the momentum and leadership that we need to succeed.

I don’t make this decision based on any difference in policy with General McChrystal, as we are in full agreement about our strategy. Nor do I make this decision out of any sense of personal insult. Stan McChrystal has always shown great courtesy and carried out my orders faithfully. I’ve got great admiration for him and for his long record of service in uniform.

Over the last nine years, with America fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he has earned a reputation as one of our nation’s finest soldiers. That reputation is founded upon his extraordinary dedication, his deep intelligence, and his love of country. I relied on his service, particularly in helping to design and lead our new strategy in Afghanistan. So all Americans should be grateful for General McChrystal’s remarkable career in uniform.

But war is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general, or a president. And as difficult as it is to lose General McChrystal, I believe that it is the right decision for our national security.

The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general. It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system. And it erodes the trust that’s necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan.

My multiple responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief led me to this decision. First, I have a responsibility to the extraordinary men and women who are fighting this war, and to the democratic institutions that I’ve been elected to lead. I’ve got no greater honor than serving as Commander-in-Chief of our men and women in uniform, and it is my duty to ensure that no diversion complicates the vital mission that they are carrying out.

That includes adherence to a strict code of conduct. The strength and greatness of our military is rooted in the fact that this code applies equally to newly enlisted privates and to the general officer who commands them. That allows us to come together as one. That is part of the reason why America has the finest fighting force in the history of the world.

It is also true that our democracy depends upon institutions that are stronger than individuals. That includes strict adherence to the military chain of command, and respect for civilian control over that chain of command. And that’s why, as Commander-in-Chief, I believe this decision is necessary to hold ourselves accountable to standards that are at the core of our democracy.

Second, I have a responsibility to do what is – whatever is necessary to succeed in Afghanistan, and in our broader effort to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda. I believe that this mission demands unity of effort across our alliance and across my national security team. And I don’t think that we can sustain that unity of effort and achieve our objectives in Afghanistan without making this change. That, too, has guided my decision.I’ve just told my national security team that now is the time for all of us to come together. Doing so is not an option, but an obligation. I welcome debate among my team, but I won’t tolerate division. All of us have personal interests; all of us have opinions. Our politics often fuels conflict, but we have to renew our sense of common purpose and meet our responsibilities to one another, and to our troops who are in harm’s way, and to our country.

We need to remember what this is all about. Our nation is at war. We face a very tough fight in Afghanistan. But Americans don’t flinch in the face of difficult truths or difficult tasks. We persist and we persevere. We will not tolerate a safe haven for terrorists who want to destroy Afghan security from within, and launch attacks against innocent men, women, and children in our country and around the world.

So make no mistake: We have a clear goal. We are going to break the Taliban’s momentum. We are going to build Afghan capacity. We are going to relentlessly apply pressure on al Qaeda and its leadership, strengthening the ability of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to do the same.

That’s the strategy that we agreed to last fall; that is the policy that we are carrying out, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In that effort, we are honored to be joined by allies and partners who have stood by us and paid the ultimate price through the loss of their young people at war. They are with us because the interests and values that we share, and because this mission is fundamental to the ability of free people to live in peace and security in the 21st century.

General Petraeus and I were able to spend some time this morning discussing the way forward. I’m extraordinarily grateful that he has agreed to serve in this new capacity. It should be clear to everybody, he does so at great personal sacrifice to himself and to his family. And he is setting an extraordinary example of service and patriotism by assuming this difficult post.

Let me say to the American people, this is a change in personnel but it is not a change in policy. General Petraeus fully participated in our review last fall, and he both supported and helped design the strategy that we have in place. In his current post at Central Command, he has worked closely with our forces in Afghanistan. He has worked closely with Congress. He has worked closely with the Afghan and Pakistan governments and with all our partners in the region. He has my full confidence, and I am urging the Senate to confirm him for this new assignment as swiftly as possible.

Let me conclude by saying that it was a difficult decision to come to the conclusion that I’ve made today. Indeed, it saddens me to lose the service of a soldier who I’ve come to respect and admire. But the reasons that led me to this decision are the same principles that have supported the strength of our military and our nation since the founding.

So, once again, I thank General McChrystal for his enormous contributions to the security of this nation and to the success of our mission in Afghanistan. I look forward to working with General Petraeus and my entire national security team to succeed in our mission. And I reaffirm that America stands as one in our support for the men and women who defend it.

Thank you very much.

• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): The White House
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05
Jun
10

Obama nominates new director of national intelligence

NEWS
Obama nominates new director of national intelligence
James R. Clapper Jr. as DNI: “Four Decades of Service”

Saturday, June 5, 2010

This morning the President announced James R. Clapper Jr. as the new Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Applauding outgoing DNI not only for his exceptional tenure, but his distinguished career, the President focused on continued work towards the seamless intergration and communication between all elements of our intelligence community, including Congress.

“Today I am proud to announce my choice for the next director of national intelligence, James Clapper,” Obama said at the White House.

“With four decades of service to America, Jim is one of our nation’s most experienced and most respected intelligence professionals,” he added.

The president also asked the Senate to approve the nomination quickly.

Clapper, 69, retired in 1995 after 32 years in the Air Force. Currently he is the undersecretary of defense for intelligence.

The nomination came two weeks after former director of national intelligence Dennis Blair resigned after a 16-months tenure marred by a series of intelligence blunders, including the Fort Hood shooting in November 2009, a failed Christmas plane bombing attempt and the New York City Times Square car bomb plot.

If confirmed by the Senate, Clapper will be the fourth director of national intelligence since the post was created in 2004, responsible for coordinating the work of the country’s 16 spy agencies.
He introduced Clapper with an overview of his decades in service to his country:

Today, I am proud to announce my choice for the next Director of National Intelligence – James Clapper. With four decades of service to America, Jim is one of our nation’s most experienced and most respected intelligence professionals.

As Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, he has successfully overseen the military and civilian intelligence personnel and budgets that make up the bulk of our 16-agency intelligence community. He’s improved information sharing, increased intelligence support to our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, upheld civil liberties, and he played a key role in our effort to update and reorient our intelligence community to meet the threats of our time.

As director of two critical organizations – the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency – and during a distinguished career in the Air Force, Jim developed an intimate understanding of our human and technical collection programs. He possesses a quality that I value in all my advisors: a willingness to tell leaders what we need to know, even if it’s not what we want to hear. And Jim is a forceful champion of his fellow intelligence professionals – never forgetting what it was like to risk his own life during two combat tours during the Vietnam War.

As DNI, Jim will be my principal intelligence advisor and the leader of our intelligence community. Our intelligence community has made great strides since the 9/11 attacks. Guided by good intelligence, we’ve struck major blows against the leadership of al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates, and we’ve disrupted many plots in our country and saved many American lives. But as we saw in the failed attack over Detroit, we need to do even better. We need to constantly evolve and adapt and improve.

That’s why I ordered a series of reforms to strengthen intelligence earlier this year, and that’s why I’ll be looking to Jim to ensure that we have the most capable and efficient intelligence community possible. Intelligence must be collected and analyzed quickly. It must be shared and integrated effectively. And it must be acted upon decisively. That’s what I expect as President, and that’s what our national security demands.

Clapper himself spoke briefly:

Mr. Clapper: Thank you very much.

Thank you, Mr. President. I am humbled, honored, and daunted by the magnitude of the responsibilities of the position of DNI. It’s a job that cannot be done without your support and that of the Congress, and I intend to earn that support from both, as well as the public, if I’m confirmed for this position.

We have the largest, most capable intelligence enterprise on the planet, and it is the solemn, sacred trust of the DNI to make that enterprise work.

With that, nominees are like my two oldest grandkids, who are here today having a life experience – better seen than heard.

Thank you very much.

• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): The White House
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