Remarks at the U.S. Army War College

SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning, everyone.

AUDIENCE: Good morning.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Jaymie, too for the kind introduction. Thanks to my � I was going to say old, but I’ll say long-time friend General Kem, because it would date me if I said he was old. It’s good. By the way, as the Secretary of State, you know it’s all about leverage, and as we were talking about our time, we were both in the same cadet company, Company C-3 back in the day, and we were deciding who had leverage on whom and we both decided we would disengage, at least for this morning. (Laughter.)

Thanks too to Ambassador Koran, who’s at State Department and serving here at the Army War College. I know you came from Africa. This is a very different place, much � I don’t know if it’s calmer, but it’s more beautiful in every respect.

I have a tradition. My wife loves animals. We have dogs. We tend to name them after generals. Our current golden retriever is Sherman. I know some of you are from Georgia, so I thought I would not talk about him this morning. (Laughter.)

But the dog before that was Patton, and I do want to talk about General Patton just a bit. He was almost mythical, for sure, as a commander in World War II. Some of his training occurred right here at the Army War College. And he joined the great Kansan Dwight Eisenhower and General Colin Powell on a list of famous people who have come before you all, so I think about this when I walk the halls of State Department: Madison, Jefferson, Pompeo. No pressure on you all either. (Laughter.)

The world has changed. The geopolitical circumstances have certainly changed. New weapons, new technology, the methods of warfare are different.

But what has � fundamentally has not changed and will not change is the massive need for leadership, both military and civilian, both here at home and abroad. Leaders’ defining qualities haven’t changed much either.

You all possess those qualities. You would not have been invited to be here without that. And as a former Army officer myself, I must say I think that’s great, congratulations, you all earned it, but I did not come here today to pat you on the back.

The truth is you all will be tested again, and I am confident it will be soon. We don’t know how, we don’t know where, we don’t know precisely the challenge you will face, but I can assure you it will come before you.

Many of you will leave the life you spent in a particular branch or particular service to a larger role.

And your mission will require you to expand your capabilities.

And indeed, I want to talk about today how your life and mine, the role of those of us at the State Department with those in other branches of government, intersect. I’m a Cabinet Secretary today, not a tank officer, but I can assure you I still need protection. It’s not armor anymore, but you will need the ability to lead in a way that is unique to you but not unique all across the United States Government.

I must say � I tell my team this and you would all know it because I do it publicly as well � I talk about how important it is what we do at the State Department. We can keep men and women serving in uniform all across the world safe, we can cause them to have to work a little less hard and take a little less risk with the flip side being that we can’t be successful at that without you having an enormous level of preparedness, of readiness, and leadership. We need the credible threat of the capacity for America to project its military power in order for our diplomatic efforts to have the opportunity to succeed in the hardest places all around the world.

You all know too that it is key to governance and stability in so many places around the world that our organizations � the State Department, Department of Defense � work together.

I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about how I’ve seen it manifest. I saw it when I was a member of Congress, I saw it when I was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and I certainly see it today.

We’ve seen it for two decades, frankly, in Iraq and Afghanistan � Foreign Service officers, military personnel cooperating rather than competing for influence.

Lots of places. The fight against ISIS where, thanks to some enormously good work by some incredibly capable military leaders, the ISIS has been � ISIS caliphate has been taken down.

And at the same time, I have officers on the ground today in Syria playing a role, a crucial role, distributing foreign aid, working to rebuild, working to develop a diplomatic resolution that will create a more stable Syria.

And two, we are engaged in the fight, as I know you are, countering the ideology which drove that caliphate.

Those are external joint efforts, things we work on in the field facing with our partners and allies around the world.

I want to talk about internal cooperation that we do as well. We do it, you see, in exchange programs � I know we have officers here today. This is a vital piece of the State-Defense connection.

And then I want to close with this � and then I know I’m going to get a chance to take questions from you and I look forward to that.

This chain goes back a long time, and we have a duty, indeed an intense obligation, to continue to build that chain.

It goes back to at least 1903, when President Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, witnessed the laying of a cornerstone here at the War College. He was addressing men and women like you, and he called for America to promote peace around the globe, saying, quote, Not in the spirit of the weakling and craven, but with the assured self-confidence of the just man armed.

Now, a little more than a century on, American diplomats are acting out Teddy Roosevelt’s call for peace, but the just men armed are the leverage that we need.

When you leave here to take on your larger role, your responsibilities, the stakes are enormously high, and I’ll talk about that in response to your questions. In fact, remember we as diplomats are your partners. Trust us. We’ll earn that, and we in turn will trust you as well.

Our objectives are absolutely the same: projecting strength and effective peace.

And I hope, too, you’ll take the message from Teddy Roosevelt as well as from General Patton � the general, not the dog, of course. We should all be proud of achieving these joint objectives together.

Thanks for having me today, and I’ll look forward to your questions. (Applause.)

Source: US Department of State