WASHINGTON – Vice President Kamala Harris will make another first for women on Friday when she speaks to the United States Naval Academy’s senior class and becomes the first female speaker in the school’s nearly 175-year history.
The vice president’s speech is expected to focus on some of the Biden government’s most pressing challenges, such as the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and a host of increasingly complex cybersecurity threats.
“The global pandemic has ushered in a new era. It has influenced our world forever, ”Ms. Harris is expected after prepared remarks from the New York Times. “If we weren’t clear before, we now know: Our world is interconnected. Our world is interdependent. Our world is fragile. “
The vice president’s speech at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Will be her first to focus on the military, and it comes well ahead of the date set by President Biden as the Biden government accelerates the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan April: September 11th.
Mrs. Harris said that she was the last person in the room before the president made the decision to withdraw troops from the country, nearly two decades after her first deployment.
Presidents and vice-presidents take turns delivering opening speeches at the various service academies, and Mrs. Harris is the first to return to the Naval Academy since President Donald J. Trump took the stage in 2018, declaring that after his election, the United States has been “respected again” .
While Mr. Trump focused on the military that deserves the respect and fear of his global opponents – he told graduates in 2018 that the military was “the most powerful and lawful force on the planet” – the current administration has insisted, what Mr Biden has said repeatedly: that he believes that democracy is reaching a turning point.
“No class can choose the world they graduate in” Mr. Biden told a class of Coast Guard graduates this month. “The challenges you have to face in your career will look very different from the ones you entered these halls before.”
Ms. Harris, the first woman and colored person to be Vice President, won’t be the only one to make history at the Naval Academy on Friday. Among the graduates of the socially distant opening ceremony will be Midshipman First Class Sydney Barber, the first black woman in the academy’s history to serve as brigade commander.
Midshipman Barber, from Lake Forest, Illinois, wears a distinctive set of six stripes on her uniform and was responsible for much of the brigade’s daily activities, as well as providing professional training to other midshipmen.
Two shoulder boards belonging to Midshipman Barber are on display in Ms. Harris’ ceremonies office, according to a senior officer for the vice president. Ms. Harris and the midshipman spoke on a private Zoom call recently and complimented each other on being the first black women in their respective roles.
“You may be the first to do many things,” Ms. Harris told the midshipman, according to an aide who related their conversation. “But make sure you won’t be the last.”
It has only been 46 years since women were allowed to enroll in the service academies, and Midshipman Barber is the 16th woman to serve as a brigade commander. The first was midshipman Juliane Gallina, who led the brigade in the fall of 1991, when women were still banned from flying fighter jets or serving on warships at sea. School records show that Ms. Gallina has left the Navy as a commandant.
John Ismay Contribution to reporting.