Fdefense_secretaryORT BRAGG—Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says the military will continue to be able to defend against multiple threats around the world despite troop reductions bringing the Army to its lowest manpower level since before World War II.

Carter met with soldiers at Fort Bragg on Friday, a day after it was announced the Army cut spots for about 840 at the post. The worldwide reduction of 40,000 soldiers in two years due to budget cuts mean bases in Georgia, Texas and Alaska will lose thousands of troops.

The defense secretary said when it comes to troops he’s more concerned with the quality of troops rather than the quantity.

“I have no doubt that this force could take out ISIL. The tricky part comes with getting defeat to stick, a defeat of ISIL that lasts, we can’t do. For that there has to be local people who hold territory and ultimately govern territory,” said Carter.

Further troop cuts of 30,000 are possible later this year if Congress enacts budget constraints known as sequestration. Carter is scheduled to speak Saturday in Charlotte to the annual conference of the National Association of Counties.

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, the Representative of Fort Bragg, issued the following statement regarding the visit:

“I’m pleased to see Secretary Carter taking time to visit with the hardworking men and women stationed at Fort Bragg. It’s key that our Secretary of Defense spends time on the ground interacting with soldiers, and I’m confident the Secretary will witness firsthand just how unique and valuable Fort Bragg is to our national security. There is no doubt that the Secretary will leave Fayetteville today just as proud of the men and women as I am.”