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In Afghanistan, Smaller Force Equals Need for ‘More Capable’ Force, Carter Says

Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ashton Carter, Photo: Defense.gov

The Defense Department’s acquisition czar said as the U.S. prepares to draw down forces in Afghanistan, the need for a more capable and better equipped force is even more crucial.

Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics, at a Defense Logistics Agency conference in Columbus, Ohio, said the agency had accomplished a “true miracle” in supporting the 33,000-strong troop surge last year.

Now, Carter, who mentioned he’d just returned from a week-long trip to Afghanistan, said the “overall objective” must be to make the remaining troops “more capable than the force that has been in Afghanistan this past year.”

Carter said the agency is considering several initiatives, such as providing more technologies like intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tools.

And as an American Forces Press Service reports, DoD is turning to improved logistics in the embattled country to reduce transportation costs, Carter said.

But it’s clear the overarching budget situation will play a role.

“The world’s changing; the budget landscape is changing,” Carter said. “We in DoD are trying to change. I know industry’s changing also. The only thing that doesn’t change, and I saw again and again last week in Afghanistan, is the dedication and quality of the men and women in uniform, and we owe them our best dedication back.”

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