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WATCH: Patrick Shanahan tells Navy grads ‘we are the good guys’ in commencement speech

‘Set the climate. Model and teach the right behaviors of respect, good order, and discipline’

June 18, 2019

3:53 PM

18 June 2019

3:53 PM

Patrick Shanahan will not continue in his role as acting secretary of defense after revelations of domestic violence concerning his son and his ex-wife emerged.

According to the Washington Post:

[Shanahan’s] wife was arrested after punching him in the face, and his son was arrested after a separate incident in which he hit his mother with a baseball bat.

The Post story makes for harrowing reading. Shanahan describes how his personal experience with domestic violence has helped him understand there are ‘no simple policy prescriptions’.

‘The thing that’s probably, like a lot of other issues . . . is having a buddy system of people who really care about you and can intervene. What I’ve learned is extremely important,’ he told the reporters.

It’s a theme the former acting secretary of defense has touched upon before: when he discussed sexual harassment and assault in his commencement address to the US Naval Academy less than three weeks ago.

‘When you see ethical failure – in uniform or out, by military members or others – you must become gravity. You and your commitment must be unshakable, regardless of the circumstances,’ he told the graduating class.

Watch his speech or read the transcript below:

‘You came to this institution from all across our vast and diverse country. You are a microcosm of America…you are also the best of America.

‘If you do not stand your ground on ethical principles, on excellence in your team, then who can we rely upon to do that?

‘When you see ethical failure – in uniform or out, by military members or others – you must become gravity. You and your commitment must be unshakable, regardless of the circumstances.

‘The easiest person to stand against is the enemy. The toughest person to stand against is your teammate.

‘You’ll have countless opportunities to do this across your career: let me tell you where you can make a mark on our Department right away.

‘I need you young Lieutenants and Ensigns to set the standard on preventing sexual harassment and assault in our ranks. The status quo won’t cut it.

‘You are perfectly postured to make that impact: you are parachuting into the front lines.

‘Set the climate. Model and teach the right behaviors of respect, good order, and discipline. Call it out. Lead. Motivate. Inspire.

‘Coach up. Transform our Navy and Marine Corps. Make them the institutions they were made to be. Set the example for your subordinates, peers, and leadership.

‘Learn to be comfortably uncomfortable with this responsibility, drawing confidence from the knowledge that, when we are aligned on one goal, we’re unstoppable.

‘Sexual assault and harassment degrades the dignity of our teammates, and we are on the side of personal dignity in this era of renewed Great Power Competition.

‘We stand against authoritarian regimes that routinely degrade human dignity for their very survival.

‘Remember, we are the good guys. So hold fast to those highest ideals of “duty, honor, and loyalty” and stand your ground.’


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