WASHINGTON, March 12, 2018 —Speaking at a forum here today on issues surrounding the president’s fiscal year 2019 defense budget request, the three service secretaries agreed that the Defense Department’s most crucial need is continued investment in people.
Army Secretary Mark T. Esper, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencerand Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the American military’s most crucial advantage is its people and that investment must continue to attract and retain them. Kathleen Hicks of CSIS moderated the discussion.
All three service leaders said the fiscal 2018 budget goes a long way toward repairing the damage done by the Budget Control Act spending cuts and that the 2019 request will begin the road to modernization.
“At the end of the day, people are what makes everything work, and we really have to focus on this,” Spencer said.
War for Talent
The services will be in a war for talent with the private sector, other portions of government and each other, the Navy secretary noted. “We are all going to be looking for more people to do more things in a more intelligent manner,” he said. “We are going to have to figure out a way to adopt and adapt those people that we have.”