Secretary of Defense thanks Kirtland for job well done

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke to Airmen during a visit to Kirtland Air Force Base Sept. 27. He emphasized the importance of the nuclear enterprise and thanked the Airmen for their work in helping build a strong nuclear deterrent. (Photo by Dennis Carlson)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke to Airmen during a visit to Kirtland Air Force Base Sept. 27. He emphasized the importance of the nuclear enterprise and thanked the Airmen for their work in helping build a strong nuclear deterrent. (Photo by Dennis Carlson)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke to Airmen during a visit to Kirtland Air Force Base Sept. 27. He emphasized the importance of the nuclear enterprise and thanked the Airmen for their work in helping build a strong nuclear deterrent. (Photo by Dennis Carlson)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke to Airmen during a visit to Kirtland Air Force Base Sept. 27. He emphasized the importance of the nuclear enterprise and thanked the Airmen for their work in helping build a strong nuclear deterrent. (Photo by Dennis Carlson)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke to Airmen during a visit to Kirtland Air Force Base Sept. 27. He emphasized the importance of the nuclear enterprise and thanked the Airmen for their work in helping build a strong nuclear deterrent. (Photo by Dennis Carlson)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke to Airmen during a visit to Kirtland Air Force Base Sept. 27. He emphasized the importance of the nuclear enterprise and thanked the Airmen for their work in helping build a strong nuclear deterrent. (Photo by Dennis Carlson)

Col. Eric Froehlich, 377th Air Base Wing commander, greets U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter during a visit to Kirtland Sept. 27.  Carter spoke to Airmen, emphasizing the importance of the nuclear enterprise and thanked the Airmen for their work in helping build a strong nuclear deterrent.

Col. Eric Froehlich, 377th Air Base Wing commander, greets U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter during a visit to Kirtland Sept. 27. Carter spoke to Airmen, emphasizing the importance of the nuclear enterprise and thanked the Airmen for their work in helping build a strong nuclear deterrent.

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited Kirtland Air Force Base’s nuclear missions Sept. 27 and took a moment to thank Kirtland workers for the job they do in keeping the American nuclear deterrent strong.

“I am here to thank you for your support of the nuclear enterprise,” Carter said. “What makes our military the greatest fighting force the world has ever known is our people. I appreciate you and don’t take you for granted.”

Throughout his remarks, Carter emphasized the importance of the country’s nuclear enterprise, and discussed the importance of attracting and retaining people with solid expertise and talent.

“The nuclear mission is the bedrock of American security and the highest priority mission of the Department of Defense,” he said. “Your job is to make a deterrent so effective, so reliable, so secure and safe that no one can doubt that the American deterrent is strong. It’s sometimes hard to keep that in perspective, even if you’re a part of it, because it’s not in the headlines every day.”

He said the nuclear deterrent landscape is changing and is becoming a more complicated task in today’s world, making the need even greater to constantly enhance the nuclear missions and keep them a priority.

“This is a different strategic era,” Carter said. “The type and variety of nuclear use we are called upon to deter gets more varied. That’s going to require the same excellence we’ve always had, but it’s also going to require a nuclear enterprise we continue to invest in.” 

Carter thanked the New Mexican community for its “long-standing and true support of the nuclear enterprise.”