America’s military most powerful on earth, says Obama


Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama has declared that America’s military “is the most powerful on the face of the earth”.
Obama, who delivered emotional remarks at the Armed Forces Full Honour Review Farewell Ceremony,  noted the negative effects of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on the military but said that had not diminished their capability.
“But make no mistake, even with the challenges of recent years – and there have been challenges -, our allies and adversaries alike understand America’s military remains, by far, the most capable fighting force on the face of the Earth.
“Our Army, tested by years of combat, is the best-trained and best-equipped land force on the planet. Our Navy is the largest and most lethal in the world — on track to surpass 300 ships.
“Our Air Force, with its precision and reach, is unmatched. Our Marine Corps is the world’s only truly expeditionary force. Our Coast Guard is the finest in the world.
“And we’re also the best because this military has come to welcome the talents of more of our fellow Americans,” he said.
The outgoing president also noted the impressive bravery and professional performance of the women combatants.
“Service members can now serve the country they love without hiding who they are or who they love. All combat positions in our military are now open to women.
“And Joe Biden and I know that women are at least as strong as men.  We’re stronger for it. It’s one of the reasons that our military stands apart as the most respected institution in our nation by a mile.”
He recalled his moments with the servicemen during his eight-year presidency, having to face many challenges together.
“I’m very grateful for that. Because you remind us that we are united as one team. At times of division, you’ve shown what it means to pull together.
“As my days as your Commander-in-Chief are coming to an end, and as I reflect on the challenges we have faced together and on those to come, I believe that one of the greatest task before our Armed Forces is to retain the high confidence that the American people rightly place in you.
“This is a responsibility not simply for those of you in uniform, but for those who lead you. It’s the responsibility of our entire nation,” he said.
Obama also threw a challenge to the American military and political leaders in taking military actions.
The outgoing commander-in-chief said while the event was meant to appreciate and praise him, he was rather turning it on them.
“And so, although I recognise that the formalities require me listening to praise directed in large part to me, I want to turn the tables – I am still Commander-in-Chief, so I get to do what I want to do – and I want to thank you.
“Of all the privileges of this office – and there are many – I will miss Air Force One, I will miss Marine One but I can stand before you today and say that there has been no greater privilege, and no greater honour, than serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the greatest military in the history of the world.”
The outgoing commander-in-chief, who said he would be eternally grateful to the servicemen, expressed the confidence that America would continue to maintain its leadership role across the globe.
“So we can’t say it enough and we can’t show it enough. Thank you for your patriotism. Thank you for your professionalism. Thank you for your character in representing the very best of the American spirit. Our nation endures — we live free under the red, white and blue – because of patriots like you.
“It has been a privilege of a lifetime to serve with you. I have learned much from you. I’m a better man having worked with you. I’m confident that the United States and our Armed Forces will remain the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known.
“God bless you and your families.  And God bless the United States of America,” he said.
In his earlier remarks in a meeting with Combatant Commanders and Joint Chiefs of Staff, Obama said: “The purpose of this meeting – something I do on a regular basis – is to allow me to hear directly from those who are charged with the most solemn responsibility of maintaining the finest fighting force that the world has ever known, and keeping the American people safe.
“It is in these meetings that we have been able to set broad strategy, identify areas where we have to improve, address the health of the force.
“And I can say to the American people that they are extraordinarily lucky and I am extraordinarily lucky to be served by such extraordinary patriots.
“This will be my last meeting with them.  And so part of my goal here is just to say thank you to them and let them know how much I appreciate the counsel, the advice, the leadership that they have consistently shown to me.”
Obama particularly commended Ash Carter, the Secretary of Defence; Gen. Joe Dunford and Vice Chair Paul Selva, and all of U.S. armed forces commanders.
“But in addition to saying thank you, I will get their views on the fact that we still have a lot of active threats around the world and we still have men and women around the world who are busy protecting our homeland and our vital interests and our allies.
“And we’ve got to make sure that during this transition period that there is seamless passing of the baton, that there’s continuity, and that any issues that still remain – and obviously we still have major fights against ISIS in Mosul and in Syria;
“Afghanistan is still active — that in all of these areas we are doing everything we can to make sure that the next President will benefit from the same kinds of outstanding advice and service that these people around the table have provided me.”
The outgoing U.S. president said it had been an honour for him to serve as their commander-in-chief.
“So it has been, as I’ve said repeatedly, one of the greatest honors and privileges of being President serving as Commander-in-Chief to such outstanding people.
“And I couldn’t have done it without all of you. And I know that my optimism about America going forward is in part because we have such an amazing military – not only one that knows how to fight,
“But also knows how to uphold the values of rule of law and professionalism and integrity, and recognises our constitutional structure and maintains strict adherence and respect for civilian authority and democratic practices in determining how we use the awesome force of the American military.
“So I just want to say thank you to all of you.
“And with that, we’ve got to do some work.  All right? Thank you so much. I appreciate it,” the outgoing U.S. commander-in-chief said.


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