EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Base leadership snapped to attention and rendered salutes as Secretary of Defense Ash Carter arrived here Nov. 17 for a quick visit during a circuit of the local Air Force bases.
Carter’s day tour was split between the special operations base Hurlburt Field and Eglin.
“Both Eglin and Hurlburt Field fulfill a critical aspect of our national security. We need them now and into the future,” said Carter.
The Defense Secretary began the visit by viewing the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate's new technologies, like unmanned aerial systems and a new steel alloy.
He moved on to receive extensive briefings on munitions development about the massive ordnance penetrator, joint direct attack munition and the advanced precision kill weapons system by the Armament Directorate.
“At Eglin, they are pursuing one of the critical axes of our technological investments that are so important, as we reorient the strategic direction of the Department of Defense,” said Carter. “(The department is moving) back to a full-spectrum reorientation where we have capabilities against a high-end opponent. We want to make sure we are one technology step ahead of all opponents.”
Carter continued, highlighting the need for precision weaponry and the role Eglin plays in that mission.
“It’s important not only in the platforms here like the F-35, but also in the munitions which is the specialty of this installation,” said Carter. “(Eglin’s mission) is to make sure we not only have the best platforms, but they are the most lethal, precise and can operate from long-range against all targets.”
He cited those precision weapons were a theme of the department’s investments for the 2017 and 2018 budgets.
“It was important to see the progress those programs were making and they are doing very well. It is absolutely necessary to get the funding for them.”
After a quick press conference at base operations, Carter's aircraft lifted off the runway as the sun set.