Basically, we've grown up very focused on the institution. The institution tells me what to do. It tells me where to go. It tells me what my career path is, and then I, sort of, attach my own personal desires, my own personal interests. I think we're living in a time where we're going to have to change - to put people in the center.
We are vulnerable in the military and in our governments, but I think we're most vulnerable to cyber attacks commercially. This challenge is going to significantly increase. It's not going to go away.
I've said for a long time, clearly the - a, a critical key to success in the region is going to be Pakistan and our relationship with Pakistan, which was one that was broken in the late '80s and which we've worked hard to restore.
The mission - the overall mission is to dismantle and defeat and disrupt al-Qaeda. But we have to make sure there's not a safe haven that returns in Afghanistan.
From a very strategic level, I believe the military is part of the solution to better outcomes around the world, but at a higher level, it's really about economies.
Too often we just look at these glistening successes. Behind them in many, many cases is failure along the way, and that doesn't get put into the Wikipedia story or the bio. Yet those failures teach you every bit as much as the successes.
It is my position that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do. No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.
I think the central mission in Afghanistan right now is to protect the people, certainly, and that would be inclusive of everybody, and that in a, in an insurgency and a counterinsurgency, that's really the center of gravity.
I'm very concerned about the nuclear weapons development for Iran and the destabilizing influence it has and they have in that part of the world. And I strongly endorse continued pressure, diplomatically, financially, economically.
I've been pretty clear about saying that I think that the No. 1 threat to our national security is our debt. And we've got to get our arms around that and head it in another - head it in the right direction - that we have to pay our fair share of this.
I'm a Vietnam veteran. I was here when there was no public support, not just for the effort in Vietnam, for the mission in Vietnam, but for our men and women in uniform.
Some 70% to 80% of all who join the military will return to the civilian workforce. They'll return to communities, and one of the things I've worried about is the increasing disconnect between the American people and our men and women in uniform. We come from fewer and fewer places. We're less than 1% of the population.
I think anybody in our - in the, in the national security apparatus has, has got to take full cognizance of their responsibility for the safeguarding of classified information.
Our training is world-class across all the services. We spend an awful lot on every soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman that comes in, and we ask them to do an awful lot, sometimes more than we expect of ourselves, and they do that.
When I go there to Afghanistan or Pakistan, the question both asked - and if it's not asked, implied - is, 'Are you staying this time?' because we left last time, in 1989 in Afghanistan, and we sanctioned Pakistan from 1990 to 2002. So I think it's a fair question.
There isn't a fight that I'm in that I'm not asking the question, 'What could we have done to avoid this?' Or, 'What can we do to avoid this in the future in terms of the kinds of things that we see?'
Right now we're on the President Obama plan, and we'll stay with that. And from my perspective, the reason we're there is to make sure that we can achieve the principal goal which is ensure that Afghanistan can never become a safe haven for a terrorist organization like al Qaeda.
As a Naval officer, I've been all over the world, and one of the foundational lessons I learned was that parents everywhere would like to raise their children to a higher standard of living in a peaceful environment. That's a universal goal for families.
I was in the military for over 40 years, and one of the principles I kept with me was that there's an expectation globally that the U.S. will lead. Questions about that expectation have certainly risen in recent years. The fact that there's even a question about that is worrisome to me, and I think needs to be for a lot of people.
One of the reasons that I'm still in the military - or I stayed in the military - is because I think the military has been a place where certainly people could improve, advance, and were treated fairly.