News | Dec. 7, 2016

President Obama gives final national security speech to MacDill service members

By Staff Sgt. Ned T. Johnston, 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla

President Barack Obama gave an optimistic evaluation of his national security record and the campaign against terror in the Middle East and North Africa in an address Tuesday Dec. 6, 2016, at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, thanking servicemen and women for their help in “breaking the back of ISIL.”


The speech, which was the end of the president’s one-day visit to MacDill, was likely his last major national security speech before he leaves office.


He gave the speech before 2,500 men and women at MacDill, which is home to the Department of Defense’s U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, 927th Air Refueling Wing and the 6th Air Mobility Wing.

In a hangar full of service members who work in special operations, intelligence, aerial refueling and many other support fields, the president noted “On January 20th, I will become the first president of the United States to serve two full terms during a time of war.”

He went on to emphasize that the service and sacrifices made by military members has made an major impact, echoing his praise from his speech on Sept. 17, 2014, at MacDill where he said “You play a central role in our combat and counterterrorism operations; you make sure our troops and pilots get what they need in order to get the job done; you train forces around the world so countries can take responsibility for their own security, [you’re] continuously deployed supporting our humanitarian and combat operations around the world.” 

The president continued by laying out the principles that guided him through his last eight years as commander in chief: keep the terrorist threat in perspective, avoid military overreach, adhere to the rule of law, use restraint when carrying out strikes to minimize repercussions, be open with the public, and to use diplomacy and protect civil liberties.

In closing, he reminded the nation why it’s important not to “Lose sight of the very principles we claim to defend.”


“So let my final words to you as your commander in chief be a reminder of what it is that you’re fighting for, what it is that we are fighting for. We’re a nation that believes freedom can never be taken for granted and that each of us has a responsibility to sustain it. We are a nation that won world wars. We are a nation that at our best has been defined as hope.


“A country that went through the crucible of a civil war to offer a new birth of freedom; that stormed the beaches of Normandy, climbed the hills of Iwo Jima. That’s who we are. That’s what makes us stronger than any act of terror.


“Remember that history. For we depend on you – the heirs to that legacy – our men and women in uniform.”

Please click the link below for the full transcript: