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Harris Calls on Air Force Academy Graduates to Extend U.S. Air, Space Power

The United States' air and space supremacy is critical to maintaining global peace and security as the nation faces evolving national security challenges, Vice President Kamala Harris said today. 

A person speaks at a podium with the Air Force Academy logo behind them.
Vice President Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris delivers commencement address at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 30, 2024.
Photo By: DOD screenshot
VIRIN: 240530-D-D0439-100
In her address to this year's U.S. Air Force Academy graduating class, the vice president called on the cadets to continue the legacy of innovation that has served as the foundation for the nation's dominance in the skies.  

"As it has been for generations, America's national security and global stability depend on our strength in the sky and space," Harris said. "And our officers, our nation is counting on you to preserve and extend that strength, including, I will add, through innovation." 

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets, some holding flags, walk in formation on a grass field.
Academy Parade
U.S. Air Force Academy cadets participate in the academy's 2024 Graduation Parade in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 29, 2024.
Photo By: Justin R. Pacheco, Air Force
VIRIN: 240529-F-NU281-2034

This call to action, Harris said, comes as the United States depends on the air and space prowess it has maintained for generations to deter competitors and defend allies against aggression.  

"It was America's forces in the air that bombed train tracks and fuel depots to prevent Nazi reinforcements from reaching the front lines and helped defeat tyranny and fascism in Europe 80 years ago," she said. "Over the beaches of Normandy, America won control of the sky and we have kept it ever since." 

A person descends under a parachute against a blue sky.
Parachute Team
A member of the U.S. Air Force Academy’s cadet parachute team, lands on Steelman Field during a graduation parade in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 29, 2024.
Photo By: Justin R. Pacheco, Air Force
VIRIN: 240529-F-NU281-2001

Still today, U.S. allies around the world "are in awe and our adversaries in fear of America's dominance in the air," Harris said. 

She said that dominance is on display on NATO's eastern flank. U.S. weapons shipments help Ukraine defend its territory as U.S. air patrols deter Russia from expanding its war further into Europe. 

U.S. air superiority was also key to defending Israel against a barrage of drones and missiles launched last month by Iran.  

"It was our Air and Space Forces that mounted an unprecedented defense along with our allies and partners," Harris said. "More than 300 drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles were fired at Israel. And thanks to our airmen and guardians, 99% of those threats did not hit their targets." 

Harris assured the graduating class that, armed with their experience gained as Air Force Academy cadets, they are up to the challenge of maintaining the United States' edge in the air and in space. 

"Wherever you go from here, you are ready," she said. "You already have the skills. You have the knowledge and the strength of character to meet any challenge. 

Service members in uniform hoist another service member holding his hands in the air.
Take the Hill
U.S. Air Force Academy senior cadets celebrate their upcoming graduation by participating in the "Take the Hill" tradition at the Academy's center square, Colorado Springs, Colo., May 10, 2024.
Photo By: Dylan Smith, Air Force
VIRIN: 240510-F-XD900-2207

"You are warriors," she added. "You have dedicated yourself to the service of our nation. America's security relies on you. I know you will make our country proud."


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