Sun Valley: Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to Address Private Sector Partnerships

Ashton Carter Sun Valley
Win McNamee/Getty

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will be the headline attraction at investment bank Allen & Co.’s secretive media conference this week in Sun Valley, Idaho.

The Pentagon chief will be interviewed by Charlie Rose on Thursday, and will speak about the importance of strengthening ties between the armed forces and the private sector, according to a spokesman for the department.

The annual gathering of moguls brings out the biggest names in media, technology and entertainment. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Apple CEO Tim Cook are just a few of the business leaders gathered at the mountainside retreat.

The event is strictly off-the-record, but the Defense Department spokesman said that Carter’s remarks will be similar to an April speech he gave at Stanford University in which he said that the department will launch a new unit in Silicon Valley to deal with cyber-warfare threats. Part of that initiative will include building relationships with startups and technology companies.

“I believe we must renew the bonds of trust and rebuild the bridge between the Pentagon and Silicon Valley,” Carter said. “We’re going to open a door in the other direction – from our best government technologies to industry and then back.”

Carter’s appearance will come on the heels of an Armed Services Committee testimony this week in which he faced criticism from lawmakers for not doing more to arm Syrian rebels to fight ISIS.

Last year’s Sun Valley conference was originally supposed to feature an appearance by Secretary of State John Kerry, but America’s chief diplomat had to appear via a remote connection from Kabul after a series of crises in Iraq and the Middle East caused a change in travel plans.

The Allen & Co. conference will also feature presentations from Musk about automobile advances, Diane Von Furstenberg on fashion branding and a look at clean energy technology advances with California Gov. Jerry Brown.

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