Please welcome Deborah Lee Jamesand Eric Fanning.
(cheers and applause)
Thank you very much.
-Welcome to the show.-Thank you.
Thank you.It's great to be here.
It is wonderful to be here, uh,
for you,and for us especially,
just before Veteran's Day,which we'll chat about shortly.
But for those who don't know, Imean, there are many positions
within the U.S. government.
There are many positionswithin the military.
What exactly is the roleof a secretary?
Well, a secretaryis the civilian lead
of a military service.
So in our country, of course,we have the principal
of civilian controlof the military.
So the way to think about it,
is Eric and Iare the civilian CEO's
of the Air Forceand of the Army.
And our job is to workon people issues,
and to work on training issues,
and equipping, both for todayand tomorrow,
so that our militaryis ready to do the jobs
that we call upon them to do.
You are also really special,in that you are
really the torch-bearers,pioneers, in your fields.
Only the second woman to be
in the power-leading divisionof the military,
and the first openly gay person
who is leading in the military.
A question to you,
when "don't ask don't tell"came into effect,
what did that meanfor you personally,
and what did that meanfor the military?
Uh, it was a difficult periodfor me, personally.
I felt like I was the onlygay person in the Pentagon
and actually ended upleaving, uh, government service,
moving to New York City,
and-and doingsomething entirely different.
Um, but Debbie got me back inWashington D.C. at a think tank
we ended up both working at,
and I was lucky enoughto be in the Pentagon
when "don't ask, don't tell"was repealed.
It's a very different time now,and it was a very exciting thing
that this presidentwas able to do.
So when transitioningfrom one president to another,
do your jobs change?
Does the visionof the military change?
How, uh... how bigcan the differences really be?
Well, the president, of course,is the commander in chief
of the armed forces, um,
so Eric and I are appointeesof President Obama.
So we serve at the pleasureof the president.
So, yes, we will be tendering,um, our resignation.
But until that time,we continue to serve.
-There's work to be done.-Uh-huh.
Um, we have stilla strong agenda
that we are, uh, advancing.
And until the very last day,we're gonna continue to do that.
In addition, um,the orderly transition
is crucially important.
It's importantacross the government
but most especiallyfor the military.
We have men and womenin harm's way
all around the worldas we speak.
And so we're gonna be workingon that transition
to make sure that it's orderlyand done properly.
When you...when you say the president
obviously has a large roleto play within this,
um, I mean,Donald Trump has said before
he is the best at military.
-Uh, that's a direct quote,by the way. -(chuckling)
I feel like we're allin the Twilight Zone.
What is your jobin relating to a president?
What are you doing in serviceof the president?
Well, our direct reportis the Secretary of Defense,
-who, of course, reportsto the-the president, -Mm-hmm.
but we have both hadthe opportunity
to be directlywith President Obama.
-Yes. -I, for example,had the opportunity
to brief himon our nuclear enterprise
and several other issuesthat, um, are impactful
to the Air Force,really impactful to the nation.
So, um, we, again, serve atthe pleasure of the president,
and, uh, there will be thosewho will take our jobs
into the futureand carry us into the future.
Wh-When you... when you lookat a few things that are said,
because...many civilians may know...
I-I know I don't knowthe-the real answer to this--
and that is,Donald Trump once said, um...
he-he would give an order tokill the families of terrorists
and the Army would haveto execute that.
And, you know, he was then told,"No, you know,
"the-the militarywould deny your request,
because that is unlawful."
And he said, "No, I will tellthem to do it and they will."
Um, if something like thatwere to happen,
at what point does the militaryact beyond the president?
At what point does the militarydeny the request
of the commander in chief?
We all, all of us,in or out of uniform,
take an oathto the Constitution.
And the military takes thatincredibly seriously.
Most people conflatewhat the military does
with who the military is.
The military's an incrediblyprofessional, well-trained,
lethal, um, instrument of powerfor the United States,
but civilians decidewhat it does
within the constraintsof the law.
And we certainly havea number of lawyers
that are swirling around usat the Pentagon,
uh, who make surethat we don't cross those lines.
If you, uh... if you look atyourselves in these positions--
I know it's a... it'sa deeply personal question--
but there is a possibility nowthat America could be facing
a time where their presidentdoes not believe
that women or peoplewho are transgender
should be servingin the military.
Uh, I'm not saying for youto disagree with it or not,
but if you were to implore him
or even tell us whyit's so important to have that,
what would you say?
I would explain thatit's really, really important
that, as we go into the future,we have to continue
to recruit and retainthe very best young people
that America has to offer,
who are willing to comeinto the military.
We, of course,are an all-volunteer force,
and we're in a war for talent,
just like every corporationacross America.
And so you wantthe widest pool of people
to be able to choose from.
I would also point out that,in my opinion,
having diverse backgrounds,
different waysof approaching problems,
the wayyou've grown up differently,
this is having, uh...innovation springs
from that kind of diversityof thought.
So I would say, if you wantthe best armed forces
that Americacould possibly have,
uh, going into the future,
make sure that you havea diverse armed forces
-going future.-(cheering and applause)
That is, uh...
I guess, uh,that-that says it the best.
Thank you very much.Happy Veterans Day for tomorrow.
-Thank you. -Thank you so much.Thank you for being here.