May 31, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hits back on criticism of diversity in military

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin walks bast soldiers who are saluting

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the 2021 West Point Commencement Ceremony on May 22 in West Point, New York. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Monday hit back against criticism that increasing diversity in the military's ranks would weaken security, in a wide-ranging CNN interview.

Driving the news: The Army said it had to disable comments on a recent recruiting ad that featured stories from real soldiers — including immigrants and one recruit with two moms — after backlash emerged from conservative media and political figures including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

What he's saying: The military "will never be too soft," he said. "I think our adversaries would like to capitalize on talking points like that, you know, the Chinese, the Russians."

  • "What this department, what Lloyd Austin is focused on, is the defense of our nation."
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