Diversity was on display at the White House today as President Joe Biden introduced Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost as his choice to command the US Transportation Command and Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson for the promotion to the rank of general and commander of US Southern Command.
Continuing these examples of diversity, the President was introduced by Vice President Kamala Harris, first African American, first South Asian and first woman elected to a national office. And it was introduced by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, the first African American to hold the post.
The two candidates for the command of the combatants’ commands were presented on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Biden said these are examples of excellence for all Americans.
“We all need to see and recognize the accomplishments of these barrier-breaking women,” he said. “We need young women who are just starting their careers in military service to see this and know that no doors will be closed to them. We need women and men in all ranks to see and celebrate the achievements and leadership of women in service. We need the little girls and boys, both who grew up dreaming of serving for their country, to know what the generals of the United States Armed Forces look like. This is what the vice presidents of the United States look like.
The diversity of our nation makes us stronger. And this diversity in our military ranks allows us to better defend the American people. ”
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III
The U.S. military is built like a meritocracy – for equal treatment the best are supposed to rise up, and the country needs them, Vice President Harris said in her remarks.
“Right now, we are facing global threats to our climate and our health, to our physical security and our cybersecurity,” she said. “Our ability to face this moment is determined both by our diplomatic strength and by our ability to build a strong, intelligent and sustainable military force: a force that recruits the most talented; a force that retains the most capable; a force that advances the best of the best. “
The vice president singled out the two officers and said they were “the best of the best”.
She noted that Van Ovost is an Air Force Academy graduate who was one of the first C-17 Globemaster III test pilots. She is currently the Air Mobility Command Commander.
Richardson is an army aviator who flew Huey’s and later Black Hawks. Today, she is the commanding general of US Army North.
Austin praised Biden on his decision to nominate these two women.
“The diversity of our nation makes us stronger,” he said. “And this diversity in our military ranks allows us to better defend the American people.”
Austin said the president understands leadership.
“You know leadership doesn’t come conveniently packaged,” the secretary said. “You know it comes from lived experience – from individual lived experience. And today you appoint to a combatant command two extraordinary military leaders, whose lived experience encompasses nearly 70 years of military service. uniform in peace and war. “
“They have known sacrifice. They have known loss. And they have known victory,” he continued. “They have flown and fought for this country across continents, from the last days of the Cold War to the modern times of the wars we still wage.”
Biden said the more work, the more change needs to happen. He specifically tasked all military personnel to deal with sexual assault.
“Sexual assault is heinous and evil at all times, but in our military unit cohesion relies heavily on trusting your fellow military members to support you, it is nothing less than a threat to our national security, ”the president said. .
He noted that Austin’s first memo as secretary was a directive to tackle sexual assault in the military and establish an independent sexual assault review board.
“It will be a comprehensive effort under my administration to end the scourge of sexual assault in the military,” Biden said. “We’re going to be focusing on this from the highest level. I know we can do it. The US military has defeated the US enemies on land, in the air and at sea, and it’s not beyond us.”