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Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks' Remarks for Earth Day

As we celebrate this Earth Day, we are reminded of our responsibility to protect the planet and the people on it.

We all have a role to play in safeguarding our environment. The Department of Defense oversees the management and care of 27 million acres of land, water, and airspace.

On these millions of acres, we develop and test new technologies and platforms, train our service members, and maintain the highest levels of military readiness.

These acres are also home to some of the most unique and rare ecosystems and habitats in the world.

Over the past several years, we've made historic investments that increase our resilience, enhance combat capabilities, and reduce our impact on the environment, including efforts to conserve our natural landscape.

These acres are also home to our nation's Service members and military families.

One of the Department's top priorities is to take care of our people. That means ensuring that the communities in which our people work, learn, and live are healthy and resilient— that the water they drink and the air they breathe are clean. And it means that their environment meets operational needs and improves their quality of life. It's a responsibility we treat with the utmost seriousness.

The health of our environment is critical to our national security. As it turns out, what's good for the environment also benefits our military. When we operate in a way that is more sustainable and energy efficient, we also make our military more agile, quicker, and more responsive in crises.

So, on this Earth Day, we in the Department of Defense re-commit ourselves to advancing a more sustainable future for our country, our military, and our communities. And we know that, as we do so, we're building a safer, more secure world.