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Immediate Release

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks Visits New York City and West Point

Attributable to Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon: 

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks visited New York City to meet with recruiters and enlistees, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (USMA) to meet with administrators, faculty, and cadets; assess flood damage on the campus; and deliver a speech on how energy resilience and sustainability efforts improve readiness and advance Department of Defense priorities. 

In New York City, Deputy Secretary Hicks met with Maj. Gen. Johnny Davis, U.S. Army Recruiting Command Commander, Lt. Col. John "Rocky" Rhodes, New York City Recruiting Battalion Commander, and recruiters from across the services to discuss the challenges and opportunities they see in the current challenging recruiting environment. She also acknowledged five top-performing recruiters, administered the oath of enlistment for a contingent of enlistees, and administered the oath of re-enlistment for two servicemembers who chose to continue their military service. 

She thanked each contingent- enlistees, re-enlistees, and active-duty servicemembers for their tremendous dedication to U.S. national security and for choosing public service. She reiterated the value of America's All-Volunteer Force as the best model for the U.S. military- trusted with reinforcing American ideals of personal liberty and freedom, and offering Americans who have the desire and ability to serve training, career mobility, and financial benefits in addition to community, connection, and a common purpose. 

At West Point, Deputy Secretary Hicks met with Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Steven W. Gilland, to discuss the academy's priorities, student body quality of life, challenges facing the Military Service Academy, and USMA's Academic Year 2024 priorities.

The Deputy Secretary also delivered an address highlighting the impact climate change will have on military operations, and how energy resilience and sustainability efforts improve readiness and advance Department of Defense priorities. 

Prior to her visit, the Deputy Secretary met with cadets and a newly-commissioned second lieutenant from the Sustainable Infrastructure, Resilience, and Climate Consortium (SIRCC) program at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (USMA). SIRCC is a partnership between West Point and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment (ASA [IE&E]) to educate future Army leaders on how sustainability and resilience can increase force readiness while addressing the threats of climate change.

Following her speech, Deputy Secretary Hicks met with Cadets in leadership positions, tactical officers, and staff to discuss the status of "preventing harmful behavior" programs at the Academy, and efforts underway to address the West Point Academic Year 21-22 Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Report and Spring 2023 On-Site Installation Evaluation (OSIE) Findings.

As a result of those findings, USMA has developed a fully integrated prevention plan incorporating staff and faculty development and education, foundational skill development during the Plebe (freshman) year, and sequential dosing of prevention skills throughout subsequent years. This new approach provides Cadets with the foundational skills and training appropriate to their development level.

A key ongoing prevention initiative the group discussed is the ACT (Addressing Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment, Creating Healthy Climates, Tackling Holistic Health) Program, where trained Cadets provide peer-led conversations and prevention training throughout the academic year. Recent revisions to the program include more frequent Cadet touchpoints with subject matter experts and a prevention library of standardized, pre-approved lessons and briefing material.

Finally, the Deputy Secretary visited areas of the USMA campus damaged by July storms and flooding. More than 20 homes were deemed uninhabitable due to the flooding, with a damage estimate of more than $159 million. She expressed appreciation for the hard work and resiliency across the West Point community required to maintain operations despite the damage, while also assisting neighboring communities during the storm. She commented on the importance of increasing resilience across the force to help mitigate the rising impacts of climate change on our installations.  

This trip enabled Deputy Secretary Hicks to communicate Department priorities on taking care of people; climate resilience; and attracting and retaining a world-class workforce.