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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin assured that he does not lose any sleep over what China or Russia may think of his country’s Armed Forces, in a CNN interview broadcast Monday.
The defense minister said he will not lose “one minute of sleep over what the Chinese leadership or Vladimir Putin says.”
“I will and am focused on defending this nation, and making sure we have what we need to succeed,” Austin said in this Memorial Day interview.
The Pentagon is currently developing efforts to recruit more diverse personnel, which has drawn criticism from conservatives in the country who believe U.S. security is being weakened.
Asked about this, Austin stressed that the U.S. military “will never be too soft” and noted that the country’s adversaries, such as China and Russia, “are looking to capitalize by talking about points like these.”
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Earlier this month, the Pentagon launched a recruitment campaign that told the stories of five soldiers, employing cartoons, which showed more intimate portraits of the military.
Conservative media have criticized those ads, and even Republican Senator Ted Cruz went so far as to say that a “weakened” military may not be the best idea.
Cruz was referring to a TikTok video, which went viral, in which the first part shows Russian soldiers, all men, doing push-ups and exercises in a martial attitude.
In the second half, there is an excerpt from one of the ads launched by the U.S. Armed Forces, where the story of soldier Emma Malonelord, raised by “two moms” and who “has marched for equality” is narrated through cartoons.
Austin said the U.S. Armed Forces are “the best in the world today,” not only because of the technology they have but because of the people in their ranks.
“I think we’re doing a great job of recruiting all kinds of people, providing access to people from all walks of life. If you’re fit and you pass the tests, there’s a place for you on this team,” he said.