The Secretary of Defense Honorable Mark Esper, U.S. Military Academy Class of 1986, visited USMA to discuss current affairs with Russia, China and U.S.-allied partners, among other things, with the Class of 2021 Cadets at Eisenhower Hall Theatre Oct. 9-10. Establishing a rapport with the cadets, Esper stood before the podium and said, “I have a 44-page speech right here to give you guys.” The Class of 2021 applauded with enthusiasm, ready to be engrossed in Esper’s message.
“You should’ve been booing me when I said that not clapping,” Esper responded as laughter filled the auditorium. “I’m going to set the speech aside.”
The cadets cheered as Esper walked away from the podium toward the edge of the stage to engage them in an impromptu discussion on what’s happening in the Department of Defense.
“Let’s make it a conversation if you will, more than me speaking to you,” Esper said. “I do too much (of delivering speeches) too often, and it’s good to come and talk to you all because you are the future of the United States Army. I know you heard that many times. However, I want to impress upon you how important this moment in time is and how critical it is to the future of the United States Army and, of course, the United States Military.”