Stepping into a Different World

With the conclusion of the Iraq war and the coming end of US combat activities in Afghanistan, the burden of maintaining US security will fall less heavily on the shoulders of men and women in uniform, said President Obama in his May 23 commencement speech at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. “Today, you step forward into a different world,” Obama told the academy’s 2012 graduating class. “Going forward, you’ll face fewer deployments. You’ll have more time to train and stay ready. That means you’ll be better prepared for the full range of missions you face.” Obama said the United States should utilize “many sources of American power,” including “diplomatic, economic, and the power of our ideals” to promote peace and stability. Although the US military “will be leaner,” it will remain “fast and flexible and versatile” and “will maintain” superiority in “all areas—air, land, sea, space, and cyber,” he said. He told the graduating cadets: “With your proud service, I’m absolutely confident that the United States of America will meet the tests of our time.” (Obama speech transcript)