President Obama Urges Naval Grads to Uphold Public Trust in Military

The president delivers the commencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy.
28:07 | 05/24/13

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Transcript for President Obama Urges Naval Grads to Uphold Public Trust in Military
Well thank -- -- Governor O'Malley for your kind introduction. And the great support -- Maryland gives. This academy. Secretary of Mavis. -- greater. General Paxson. Thank you all -- -- incredible leadership of our extraordinary navy and Marine Corps team -- The vice admiral Miller. Thank you for their outstanding work that you do to captain Clark and all the faculty. And staff. To the moms and beds. To raise your sons and daughters to -- this life of service. To the local sponsor. Families who cared for them far from home. The -- of the class of 1963. Veterans who guided these midshipmen along the line. Today is also a tribute to your support. And your patriotism. And I know that the class -- morning thirteen joins me in saluting your service as well. To the entire brigade of midshipmen. Your body. The highest virtues. Of this venerable institution. And yet I know that some of your times -- enjoyed -- that. Other local institutions. Like -- garments. And armadillos. But today the day of celebration. And also forgiveness. And -- home. In keeping with tradition -- declared. All midshipmen on restriction for minor conduct offenses are hereby absolve. As always. Admiral Miller gets to decide -- minor. Some of these guys are laughable nervously about -- -- Obvious way. Most of oh. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate. This incredible class a point thirteen. And -- special meaning for me as well because. The United States Naval Academy was will be very first service academy -- I privileged to address as front. On that spring day four years ago most of you were still high school. Finishing her senior year or maps that it finishing up. Prep school. -- -- younger. I was too. You had your entire Naval Academy experience ahead of them. I was already getting chest -- from the graduates 2009. Soon after you came to the art and you've got quite -- -- The Jordan. -- -- -- -- Wonderful -- Stylish eyeglasses. And -- -- leave here if you got something wrong here upperclassmen kindly corrected him. And high volume. Very close range. When Michelle. Brought our daughters Sasha here prevent it. As she got up somewhat different reception she was just in elementary school but that seem like the -- -- doing some recruiting because she went through. Bancroft -- she came to one room and saw the name on the door Sasha Obama class of money 23. So you never know. Today each of you can take enormous -- -- met. The mission of this cap. You've proven yourself it's morally. Living a concept of honor and integrity. This includes treating one another with a respect and recognizing the strength of every member of your team. -- the most diverse class to graduate in Naval Academy history. And among the many proud young women graduating today thirteen will serve on submarines. You've proven yourselves. Meddling. I know that some think. This is just a small engineering school lava. -- -- -- -- -- -- Met its rigorous standards. You help -- -- -- earn a new distinction. The number 01 -- public -- liberal arts school in America. And you've proven yourself physically and -- Herndon climb up two minutes five seconds. Nothing that put it brings back -- -- -- -- -- -- But that. More importantly last month -- welcome coach Kevin team back to the white out. Because you -- airports you -- army and you brought the commander. It's a class -- -- third team in -- court -- this by the bank. You've met every test before -- And today. You've been counting down to for so long you'll take your -- Those Boortz. And gold bars will be placed on her shoulders. -- as your commander in chief. I congratulate each other on becoming our newest officers. And -- in the United States -- Second lieutenants. In the United States Marine Corps. Soon you'll -- -- -- -- And just as you've changed over the past four years old to have the challenges facing our military. Before -- -- here our nation was engaged in two wars. Al-Qaeda leadership was entrenched. In their say favorites. Many of our alliances were strained and our nation's standing in the world but soft. And over the past four years we strengthen our alliances. And restored America's image in the world. The war in Iraq is over. We welcome to our troops home. Thanks to our brave personnel including aren't credible Navy SEALs we deliver justice to Osama bin Laden. In Afghanistan's. The transition is under way our troops are coming home by the end of next year our war in Afghanistan welcome to -- a and today we -- we salute. -- -- -- Maybe ultimate sacrifice. In these wars including eighteen graduates of this academy. We honor them all. Now. And for other. Yesterday I spoke about the way forward in the fight to keep. Our country secure -- as we've. Decimated. The al-Qaeda leadership we still face threats from al-Qaeda affiliates and from. And bill -- caught up in its ideology. Even as we move beyond deploying. At large ground armies abroad we still need to conduct precise targeted strikes against terrorists before they kill our citizens. And even as we stay vigilant in the face of terrorist. And stay true to our constitution. And our values. We need to -- ready for the full range of threats. Nations seeking weapons of mass destruction. To cyber criminals seeking to unleash. Weapons of mass destruction. And these tough fiscal times real sent to make hard choices. At home including an armed forces. But I want you all the ball as you. And -- in what. I know will be. Extraordinary years of service. Let me say as clearly as like camp the United States of America will always maintain our military -- support here -- -- and as your commander in chief. I'm gonna keep fighting to give you with the equipment and support required to meet the missions we have to view and also. Make sure that you are getting the -- and the benefits of the support that you deserve. I'll keep fighting for the capabilities and technologies you need to -- At a shipbuilding plant that puts us on track to achieve it 300 Shipley. With capabilities that exceed the power of the next dozen navies combined. And I'll keep fighting -- most -- across the board budget cuts. Known as the sequester which is threatening our -- -- deficits falling in the fastest rate in decades it's time for congress to budget in a smarter way that protects. Middle class priorities preserve investments in our future and keeps our military strong because we had the best trained. Best led best equipped military in -- -- Determined to keep it that way and congress should be -- We need you. To project power across the oceans. From the Pacific to the Persian gulf 100% on watch. We need you to partner with other -- and militaries from Africa. To the American. We need you to respond with compassion and times of disaster -- when you do help to respond to hurricane center. And in all your work. In your lifetime of service. We need you to uphold the highest standards. Of integrity and care. We're good time I have left us and I don't slow -- but the superintendent told me that Marines and folks and maybe you don't bottled water. What -- the time. I have left that's where a lot of discuss today. It's no thicker than in recent decades many Americans have lost confidence. In many of the institutions that help shape our society and our democracy. But I suggest to you today that institutions do not fail. In a vacuum. Institutions are are made up of people. Individuals. And we've seen how the actions. Of a -- could undermine the integrity. Those institutions. Every day of men and women of talent and skill work of the financial institutions that fund new businesses and put new families put families in new homes and help students go to college but we've also seen -- the misdeeds of slump. While risk taking or putting profits before people sparked a financial crisis. And deepened the recession that cost millions of Americans their jobs. Every day elected specialists. Like those on the state. But also all across the nation devote themselves to improving our communities and our country but. All too often we've seen a politics where compromises rejected -- a dirty word. Policies are driven by. Special interests rather than the national interest that breeds cynicism. Threatens our democracy. Every day our civil service do their jobs. With professional lives. Protecting our national security and delivering the services. That so many Americans expect but as we've seen again in recent days it only takes the misconduct of a few. To further erode the people's trust in their government. That's unacceptable -- and I know it's unacceptable -- you. And against. This backdrop. What -- said here four years ago remains true today. Our military remains the most trusted institution in America. When others have shirk the responsibilities are armed forces have met. Every mission we've given. What others have been distracted by petty arguments. Are men and women in uniform come together as one American take. And yet we must acknowledge that even here even in our military we've seen how the misconduct of some. Can have effects that ripple part one. In -- digital age. A single image. From the battle field the troops. Falling short of their standards could go viral and endanger our courses. And undermine our efforts to achieve security and -- Likewise. Those who commit sexual assault are not only committing a crime they threaten the trust and discipline that makes our military strong. That's why we have to be determined to stop these -- They've got no place in the greatest military honor. So class of 2013 -- say all this because you're about to assume. The burden of leadership. As offices. You'll be trusted lose the most awesome of responsibilities. The lives of the men and and women -- under your command. And when -- services completely many of you -- want to help lead -- communities. America's companies. You'll leave this country. If we want to restore the trust of the American people deserve to have in their institutions. All of us have to do our part and those of us and leadership. Myself included have to constantly strive. To remain worthy. Of the public trust. As you go forward in your -- -- we need you to carry -- the values you -- -- at this institution. -- our nation needs them now more than up. We need your honor. That inner compass big guys you're not on the -- -- easy and obvious but when it's hard and -- -- That tells -- the difference between. That which is right and that. Which is wrong. Perhaps will be the moment when you think nobody is watching. But never forget that honor like character is what you do when nobody's looking. More likely will be when you're in the spotlight leaving others the men and women who are looking up to you to set an example. Never asked them. To do what you don't ask of yourself. But with integrity and -- of honesty and take responsibility and demand. Accountability. We need your honor we need your courage. Yes bearing -- tells you to move toward danger when every fiber your being -- to turn the other way but. Even more than physical -- we need your moral courage. The strength to do what's right. Especially when it's on pop. Because Vienna today. And at the end of your career you want to look in the mirror and say with confidence of with -- plot with pride. -- -- -- I did my duty. I stay true to my balance. We need your honor and courage and we need your commitment. That sense of purpose that says I will try even harder I will do even better. In what I expect of myself in the way I interact with others including those. Of different backgrounds. It's no accident but our military is the most respected institution America and one of the most diverse institutions in America. To recognize the dignity in every human but. Treat one another with -- respect. Remember that when we harness the talents of every man and every woman. From every race and every religion and every creed no nation can ever mattress. And finally we need. Your result. Same spirit reflected in your class model. Surrendered about. If you seek. An example. You don't need to look far because not long wrote to -- -- where you set from the class of 2006. And they inspire us today. Here -- the academy Brad Snyder was the captain of the swim team. He deployed to Afghanistan while rushing to aid of his teammates he stepped on IDB. And lost -- designs. With the support of family and friends -- learned appeals -- him. Move again and before long he was back in the swimming pool where he said. I'm free. Than just one year later -- competed at the London paralympics and won three medals including two girls. And -- Michelle and I welcome to our US olympians to the White House -- join us standing tall right in front and he said. Overcoming adversity is a decision. You can let that -- Jerry could make the decision. To move forward. Here at the academy. -- Lampard was on the rowing team. He deployed to Afghanistan where these Marines special ops team and as -- to compound and I'd be exploded and Matt lost both his legs. He endured a long and painful recovery. But -- his new legs he learned to walk again. He practiced to train and then he passed his physical tests and deployed it. To Afghanistan again a double amputee back in the fight. And met recently completed his tour he is back home and he's looking ahead to many years of service. Reflecting on -- journey. His mission to return to his unit he said he was determined however long it was gonna take. To class 2013 I cannot promise you'll likely comfort and ease. For you have chosen an ancient -- The professional box which carries all the parents. Of our modern world. Dozens classes before you could not know that they were five themselves. Coral severe midway air collusion or -- We cannot know sitting here today where your service will carry. But I do know that's. As you say farewell to Bancroft Hall. You make your way down struggling walked one last time. You're becoming the newest link in the story check. -- -- to your -- today I -- the same confidence in the same professionalism. The -- fidelity to our values of those who serve before you. The Jones. Limits and -- Burke and yes the Snyder in the Lampard Americans. Who surrendered to not. And I'm absolutely confident. That you will uphold the highest of standards -- -- your courage and honor your commitment will see us through. -- you'll always prove yourself worthy. Of the trust our nation is placing in you today. -- congratulations -- 2013. God bless our -- and god bless our Marine Corps. God -- and services god bless. These United States. -- graduating class US naval academy in Annapolis. Relatively short remarks but he touched on a number of issues that have come up in recent days. We have ABC news digital reporter. Louis Martinez joining us from the Pentagon this morning. To talk a little bit about what the president had to say good morning -- -- in Wilmington and -- talked with CF president's remarks about the war. Around the world being very different he said when you went through this school we were engaged in two wars and now we're through with one and winding down in another. How does this jibe with his remarks yesterday on the changing. Nature of the war on terror. Well it's pretty much an expansion -- we heard yesterday yesterday emphasis was that this is a war -- double -- and and he talked about how it's not just as broad generalized war on terrorism. He talked about how there's going to be simple focus on specific and it targets. What he was talking about specifically being terror groups like al-Qaeda. And I think that's really what we're talking about we're not gonna see -- expansion of terrorism. Counter terrorism in Afghanistan. After 2014. The Pakistan situation and with the drones flying overhead is gonna change it's unclear -- specifically how that will change. Now we here's some background stuff that the CA -- remained in control of the flight -- or Pakistan that there's going to be some kind of transition. In Yemen but his message to the a midshipman at Annapolis is that they are entering a military that is going to be different from the one -- answered when one of the big changes that they're gonna see. Is a financial cutbacks of this a year and the next ten years and down the -- Absolutely and of course you know -- people in that audience who may disagree with the president there is going to be a lot of push back in terms of changing -- winding down the war on terror as we know it out what is some of that to house some of that been playing out in Washington so far. Well -- gets generated a lot of buzz among national security reporters obviously. In terms. The political fallout we. There's been some agreement on the -- drink with regards to the closure of Guantanamo the present you heard him yesterday say and that he really wants to focus again on closing Guantanamo he said it's causing a backlash internationally that it's worth. It causes more negatives than positives. He said he's been asked the Pentagon the focus on looking at a new facility here in the United States that could be the home to the military commissions these military tribunals for these -- combatants these detainees that are at Guantanamo. And he's also lifted the ban that he put in place himself. Four. In releasing. Detainees back to Yemen -- about 56 of these detainees who have been cleared for release -- but they were it was deemed too dangerous to can send them back to Yemen because even though they've been cleared there was a strong suspicion that they could return to terrorism. How realistic is it that the president is going to achieve the goals that he laid out yesterday when he spoke to this audience today -- -- you or the new leaders. Of the world here about how long before the president. Is really considered a lame duck. That -- I think that's way too early -- coming -- president I'll end up and he's only been. Razor -- just six months ago so I think we're talking he still has a long way to -- -- -- long term -- -- -- -- -- you -- some big -- -- -- and well yesterday was the first -- counterterrorism speech of the administration's -- it was pretty significant. We talked to senior administration officials yesterday said that. The message that the president wanted to convey words delivered at the state of the union. And since then they've been working on the strategy for how they're gonna adjust to an evolving world. And that's what he said you know that this is that it there'll be an end to this war but until that time comes he had to adapt to scenarios. That has he changed it's no longer an all out campaign against al-Qaeda. Tired because as you pointed out yesterday. There hasn't been an attack. A big scale attack like 9/11 and nine and twelve years he talked about -- about how. Doubt -- been decimated. This has been a message has been going on over the last couple years partly as a result of these drone strikes -- I don't think it's. Right to -- -- -- presidency and national security front he's got a long -- All right and let's -- wrap up with a little controversy that swirling out there this Memorial Day weekend summer saying. Perhaps the president forgot to salute this morning when he reportedly want to travel to that commencement. We have the tape here and we can -- mr. Obama. Now heading up -- mountains clearly -- -- there they comes out to shake the -- -- at the foot of the steps. Brent what is the correct protocol. You saw that he saluted the pilots who are sitting inside the cockpit and then something happen -- some kind of an exchange and then he went back out so I'm I'm not gonna speculate as to what prompted that. I'm maybe it's the Marines last day but he so I -- speculated but for. -- will what you saw other specific that you asked to customary salute the EC the president when he boards a helicopter when he boards Air Force One when he gets up those aircraft whenever he sees someone who's in uniform while. He's not actually required to salute. It's in the requirement -- of this man many -- of men and women in uniform to salute the commander in chief that's who he is -- a senior military. You know he's commander in chief of the military so they have to -- for a fourteen due respect. AA it was kind of it's become a tradition and in the last couple of decades that a president returns a salute. -- kind of started back in the -- the eighties I believe with that president Ronald Reagan. -- and then President Bush continued -- -- Clinton. And actually it's been kind of regain judging the president's on their salutes the -- of summer crisper than others but there really is no proof correct protocol for the president to salute back. And so unclear exactly what happened after he saluted the cockpit crew and then went back out and shook the hand of the other marine I believe is Lance corporal but. Obviously worth discussing. -- so much to know about that protocol is Martinez I'm glad you -- so much about it thank you so much for joining us thanks. And this has been an ABC news digital special report on time Hernandez in New York. This has been a special report from ABC news --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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