MacDill Air Force Base
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, good afternoon, everyone. I am very much looking forward to our discussion. And I’m very pleased to be here on the ground with you, who have been doing extraordinary work on so many levels.
I was — all that I — that I admire about the service, the dedication, the discipline, and the skill that our men and women apply to this work was reinforced with the quick visit that I just had out in the hangar. And so, I want to thank everyone here for what you do every day.
We are here to highlight and to — to uplift with praise the work of CENTCOM and SOCOM. This work is critical to our national security.
As we know, the President is overseas right now in the Middle East. And there is so much about what happens through the leadership here on the ground that allows us to reinforce and strengthen our partnerships around the globe and reinforces our commitment to international rules and norms and America’s willingness and preparedness to uphold and defend those international rules and norms.
So, I’m here to speak with these leaders — in particular, General Kurilla and General Clarke. And I want to thank you both for hosting us today.
The United States Military, without any question certainly in my mind or the President’s mind and in the mind of the American people, is the strongest and the best fighting force in the world.
When you look at the work that happens just right here, you will see extraordinary work that is about dedication, discipline, the building and strengthening of skills, and just sheer commitment to defending our country and the principles upon which we were founded.
And so, I’m here to talk with the leaders here to discuss the missions that are currently active around the globe and to talk with them about what might be necessary in terms of the additional support and resources that they need to do their job and complete their mission.
I also am here to express gratitude not only to the service members but to their families. In particular, the folks who work out of CENTCOM and SOCOM are supported by wonderful families who dedicate so much of their lives to allow their family member to serve as they do for our country.
So I am here to praise, again, the work that is being done by all of these folks. I also want to mention that partic- — in particular, regarding the work of CENTCOM, President Biden, being in the Middle East, is there to also make sure that we are clear about the role and the responsibility the United States plays in that region of the world, with an emphasis on many points, including our enduring relationship in support of our allies and friends and partners in Israel.
His visit is also about emphasizing the work that is happening through CENTCOM that strengthens the relationships that we have in that region of the world.
CENTCOM’s work also directly benefits the American people, in addition to ensuring that all of the values we care about in terms of our security are upheld.
CENTCOM’s work includes protecting commercial shipping lanes and energy resources that Americans rely on and — in this moment when we know that commerce and the — the active ability of us to engage in commerce is something that directly affects the American people where they live and how they live.
Regarding SOCOM, this year we celebrate the 30th — 35th, excuse me, anniversary of its founding.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes. (Laughter.)
And we call the Special Operations Forces our “quiet professionals” for a reason. They do big work. They never look for praise or acknowledgement. But the work they do we take for granted. Sometimes we don’t see, but we surely benefit from it.
And so, I’m here to also talk about the work that is happening in the frontlines on our continued fight against terrorism around the world and the work that SOCOM does to ensure that America’s interests are well served, including at this moment during Russia’s unprovoked aggression and the war in Ukraine, where the men and women of this division have been doing the work that they do around the globe, including training the forces that are the forces of our allies and, in particular, the Ukrainians in their fight to preserve their sovereignty and territorial integrity.
So together, CENTCOM and SOCOM advance our national security interests and defend and strengthen our international rules-based order.
And with that, I will conclude by saying to all here how much we appreciate you every day. I mentioned to the folks that I was with in the hangar: We talk about you guys all the time when we’re sitting in the Situation Room or in the Oval Office, talking about America’s responsibility not only to the citizens of our country but to our friends and allies around the world. We talk about you, because we could not follow through on anything that we do in the context of those relationships and priorities were it not for what you all are doing here on the ground.
So, thank you. And your mission remains critically important to the President, to me, and to our country.
And with that, I thank the press. I’ll see you all later.