By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, June 19, 2015 – The American military must adapt to the changing world situation, and the graduates of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, must lead that change, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said at the school's graduation today.
Work, who graduated from the school in 1990, said America must adapt to a more multi-polar world where U.S. global leadership will be increasingly challenged.
While the United States still leads, threats from around the world show that preeminence eroding, he said. From Russia annexing Crimea and supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine, to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, to Chinese provocations in the East China Sea and South China Sea, to Iran’s nuclear program, to rampant global cyber-attacks, the world is much different, the deputy secretary explained.
“Such challenging and uncertain times demand that America’s best and brightest step forward to serve and to lead,” Work said. “Because, to preserve the peace, we must continue to demonstrate our ability to project combat power anywhere in the world, no matter what threats we may face. We do so because that is what our friends and allies expect of us. They expect us to lead.”
Graduates must be prepared to face a world where the United States military is challenged on the seas, in the air, on the ground, and in space and cyberspace, he said.
Innovation is at the heart of maintaining U.S. power, Work said. Since World War II, the United States has enjoyed unrivaled technological superiority, he added. That lead “is eroding at a pace too fast for comfort, and as a result, the margin of battlefield overmatch we have long enjoyed is becoming ever slimmer,” the deputy secretary said.
Work said he believes the U.S. military is on the verge of breakthroughs in game-changing technologies including advanced computing and big data, autonomous operating systems, miniaturization, robotics, unmanned systems, electric weapons, energetics and additive manufacturing.
“We need you to stimulate new thinking on how we maintain our technological dominance and help a smaller force maintain overmatch against any potential adversary,” the deputy secretary said.
Work said the military needs more critical thinkers. “We need a new generation of analytical thinkers that foster and inculcate a culture of innovation, experimentation and adaptation,” he said.
Finally, he said, the graduates must protect and nurture the greatest resource of the department: Its people.