President Barack Obama’s top military adviser wrapped up a three-day swing through the Puget Sound area Thursday with a visit to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, received briefings on both the Army and the Air Force sides of the base south of Tacoma, according to an I Corps spokesman. Dempsey was scheduled to meet with soldiers, airmen and their families.
Dempsey’s visit to Lewis-McChord was not open to news media, but reporters did cover his session Wednesday with about 300 sailors and Marines at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
He noted that transitions are coming after a decade of combat operations. “We’ve been focusing like a laser beam on Afghanistan and Iraq, one deployment after another,” the four-star general said, according to a report by The Kitsap Sun. “What are we going to do with more time?”
As part of the downsizing of the armed forces, he noted that the Navy and Air Force have been “resizing” for 10 years and won’t shrink much further, but he said 100,000 soldiers and Marines could be cut from the payroll.
“Here’s my promise, you’re not going to be bored,” Dempsey told assembled submariners and other service members, according to the Kitsap Sun. “We’ll find you something to do. We’ve been pushing pretty hard. We need a better pace over the long haul.”
Dempsey was in Seattle Tuesday to meet with leaders of Boeing, Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to discuss issues ranging from veterans education to private-public partnerships.
Obama appointed Dempsey as Joint Chiefs chairman in May 2011.