By Secretary Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense
Last week, I visited the United States Military Academy at West Point and spoke to the 4,400 cadets there who will help lead our force of the future. I thanked them for answering the noble call of service and for embracing the awesome responsibility of leadership.
While on campus, I had the opportunity to have lunch with a dozen cadets who have chosen infantry service, including the first women at the academy to do so following my December announcement that all military positions will be open to anyone, male or female, who can meet our high standards.
It is not only these remarkable women who are making history; it is every cadet who is doing so. First in training, and then in battle, they will lead this implementation, and they will demonstrate that the women who recently graduated from Ranger School, who have accompanied our special operations forces, who led convoys in combat and have flown attack helicopters for the past 15 years are not just a news story; they are a vital part of our ability to defend our nation. To succeed in our mission of national defense, we cannot afford to cut ourselves off from half the country’s talents and skills – we have to take full advantage of every individual who can meet our high standards.