From CJCS Mullen
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen underscored the need for the entire U.S. government to adopt an “expeditionary strategy” to meet national security needs. Giving the Patterson School of Diplomacy’s 2008 Vince Davis Lecture, Admiral Mullen stressed that “the U.S. military is the best in the world, but it still can’t do it alone.” In the fight against terrorism, he stressed, specialists from civilian departments – Commerce, Justice, Treasury – as well as from allied nations, are needed to capitalize on the security and stability that military forces can bring to a country.
Admiral Mullen highlighted, by example, the effectiveness of the many provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) that have been established in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here military, civilians, and coalition partners work together to strengthen provincial governments, encourage economic development, and establish the rule of law. “These people understand how to build institutions that know how to move forward,” Mullen said.
The Chairman’s remarks to Patterson School students covered the globe, but he paid particular attention to the Middle East, emphasizing “from Beirut to Tehran and south central Asia is an area that will dominate global attention for about as far as I can see in the future.”
Another key focus of his presentation was the situation in Africa – the subject of the Patterson School’s 2008 Fall Conference. “Africa is a rich mix of great potential and a great downside – resources, governments, famines, disease, dictators,” he said. “I believe Africa is arriving to the rest of the world, … the rest of the world can wait until it shows up or we can engage and assist where we are asked to do so and make a difference.” Admiral Mullen insisted that more attention must be paid to developments here. Pointing out that the United States has a long tradition of looking east and west, but not north and south very well, Mullen also stressed the importance of working more closely with Central and South America and Canada, noting growing concerns in the Arctic.
Admiral Mullen’s bottom line: Leadership will be crucial in the coming years to overcome the challenges we can see today.
The Vince Davis Memorial lecture is the Patterson School's premier event to expose students and the general public to the wisdom and insights of leading figures in international affairs. In addition to giving this year’s lecture, Admiral Mullen met individually with Patterson School students and spoke to the graduating class.