(Updates with additional quotes)
Aspen, Colorado (CNN) - The United States may still be in the Afghanistan and Iraq region for another ten years, according to Gen. George Casey.
“The types of conflict that we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I think are likely to be fighting here for a decade or so, are focused on the people,” Casey, the army's Chief of Staff, said Friday night at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival.
“We are not going to succeed in either place by military means alone. You are only going to succeed when the people perceive there is a government represented by their interests, when there is an economy that can give them a job to support their families, when there are educational systems that can educate their family. All those things are essential to the long term success of the military operation.”
Regarding the larger war against “a global extremist network,” Casey also said America has another "decade or so of persistent conflict."
“States, non-states and individual actors who are increasingly willing to use violence” are not going away in the short-term. Casey added, “We believe this is a long term ideological struggle.”
Casey also joked by quoting Yogi Berra: “Predictions are hard, especially when you are looking at the future.”
Earlier this week in Aspen, the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the U.S., Yousef al-Otaiba, stated he thought the United States should use force to stop Iran's nuclear program if sanctions did not work.
Casey responded by saying "There are no good solutions and the solution may be worse than the cure."
The four-star general, who has served in the army for over 40 years and will be leaving his post in nine months, stressed the importance of the long term health of the soldiers. The army has been aggressively studying post traumatic stress and suicide rates. It is also trying to give soldiers two years to recover after one year deployment.
"It's all about the people," Casey said referring to the strength of the American army.
In a statement to CNN, Casey's media advisor, LTC Rich Spiegel, said, "General Casey was speaking of the types of conflict we will be fighting for a decade or so. He did not, nor did he intend to, imply that we would be fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan for 10 more years."