The US military will never be “soft,” Austin told CNN’s Barbara Starr in an exclusive, high-profile Memorial Day interview, adding that America’s adversaries, such as China and Russia, “would like capitalize on talking points like this “.
“I won’t waste a minute of sleep over what the Chinese leadership is saying or what (Russian President) Vladimir Putin is saying. What I’m going to focus on, and what I’m focusing on, is defending this nation, and making sure we have what it takes to be successful, ”the Defense Secretary said in the exclusive interview aired Monday.
The U.S. military earlier this month released a recruitment ad campaign designed to appeal to Gen Z, featuring five stories from soldiers on how they responded to the call for service. The series is a “distinct departure from previous Army campaigns,” given its use of “intimate” animation and portrayal, and transforms “what was once a one-dimensional view of military service into something more relevant.” the military said in a press release. .
Criticism has circulated against the ads, including from the conservative media and Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who responded to the ads by tweeting, “Holy shit, maybe a woken up and emasculated military isn’t the way to go. best idea.
Cruz’s comments were in response to a Twitter video of a Russian military ad and part of the US ad featuring Cpl. The story of Emma Malonelord, who says she was “raised by two mothers” and “walked for equality”.
“We have the largest army in the world, but Dem politicians and the media awake are trying to turn them into thoughts,” the Republican senator from Texas added.
In his interview with CNN, Austin said the US military is the “best army in the world today” not only because of the technology, but also because of the people who “populate our ranks.”
“I think we’re doing a great job in terms of recruiting the right kinds of people, giving access to people from all corners, from all walks of life in this country. As long as you’re in good shape and can qualify. , there is a place for you on this team, ”he said.
Austin argued that a diverse US military force “must be part of who we are.”
“We represent the United States of America. We have to look like America and not just in the ranks,” he told Starr. “But our leadership should be like America.”
Prior to becoming Secretary of Defense, Austin held a number of leadership positions, including Commander of US Central Command, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, and Commander General of US Forces in Iraq.
“I had a front row seat … at the biggest stage in our history in terms of, you know, being able to watch our troops in action, and see what they will do for each other. others, the sacrifices they make for this country and for each other, ”Austin told Starr. “And I’ll tell you, despite the fact that we can make great movies and write a lot of books, you can’t adequately describe the things that I’ve seen in that 20-year period, which these young people will do for each other, what they will do for their country is absolutely amazing. “