Dempsey Welcomes National Defense University’s New President
WASHINGTON, July 11, 2012 – Education and people are key to the development of the military’s future leaders, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said here today.
Dempsey made the comments during an assumption of command ceremony to welcome Army Maj. Gen. Gregg F. Martin as the National Defense University's 14th president at Fort Lesley J. McNair.
“There's one thing on which we all can agree, and that is that education is the strongest and most secure bridge to the future,” Dempsey said. “We're going to need just such a bridge as that to work our way through some of the challenging transitions that we face.”
“So with this in mind, it's clear that Major General Martin is the right leader at the right place at the right time,” he said. “He's been a student, an instructor and a leader at the undergraduate and graduate of our professional military education.”
Dempsey noted Martin's credentials include a doctorate from “one of the country's most prestigious engineering schools,” and combat leadership experience in the Middle East.
“He understands what the nation needs from its leaders now, and he understands what we will need from our leaders in the future,” the chairman said.
Dempsey also praised and thanked Ambassador Nancy McEldowney, senior vice president of NDU, for her service as the university’s acting president for nearly three months.
Dempsey told the audience he could relate to McEldowney's role, since he’d once served as acting commander of U.S. Central Command.
“I know how tough being an ‘acting’ anything can be,” he said. “You get twice the work, you get none of the credit and you get all of the blame if something goes wrong in between.”
“But the truth is on your watch, not only did nothing go wrong, but you set your successor, Gregg Martin, up for success,” Dempsey added. “This university and our armed forces are better for your steady leadership.”
Dempsey also spoke about “the people part” involved in the education of the nation’s military leaders.
“If we can get the people part right, everything else will fall in place,” he said. “You know, as I do, that education is the foundation of the people part. Education helps make military service the nation's preeminent leadership experience.”
Dempsey saluted the exceptional professionalism of NDU’s faculty and staff, and he challenged Martin and the university to “get down to the essential elements of military education.”
“I don't mind saying that I'm unabashedly optimistic about the future of this country because of its leaders,” Dempsey said. “And education is the bridge to that future.”