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    Defense Secretary Tells Navy Graduates They Are Ready to Serve

    Defense Secretary Tells Navy Graduates They Are Ready to Serve

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told newly commissioned officers at the U.S. Naval Academy on Friday that they are ready to “defend our democracy with honor, courage and commitment.”

    Austin, speaking during the ceremony at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium after President Joe Biden addressed graduates last year and Vice President Kamala Harris delivered remarks in 2021, acknowledged the Navy's role in training allies, helping expand Ukraine's maritime capabilities in its fight against Russian invasion and bringing relief to international conflict zones.

    “Class of 2023, wherever your career takes you, remind the world of what you stand for — and what America stands for: Honor. Courage. And commitment. Democracy. Liberty. And the rule of law,” Austin told 1,018 graduates at the academy's commissioning ceremony.

    The secretary said naval officers have a special understanding of the of teamwork, and “we need that spirit for the crucial mission that you're all here to shoulder.”

    Austin said U.S. Marines are training alongside allies in and the to strengthen deterrence in the Indo-Pacific. He also said the Navy is driving forward the AUKUS partnership with Australia and the U.K.

    In Europe, he said, U.S. sailors are operating shoulder-to-shoulder with allies.

    He told the graduating class that their leadership will be at the center of American efforts for a more…

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