President Obama, in an address Friday to the United States Naval Academy's graduating class, said the new officers were charged not only to "protect and defend the American people," but also to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
came the day after his speech defending his national security approach, specifically his plan to close Guantanamo Bay, at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Former Vice President Dick Cheney also gave a speech Thursday criticizing Obama's security policies and defending the decisions made during the Bush administration.
At the Naval Academy Friday, Obama affirmed his national security approach to applause from the graduating cadets.
"When America strays from our values, it not only undermines the rule of law, it alienates us from our allies, it energizes our adversaries and it endangers our national security and the lives of our troops," Obama said. "So as Americans, we reject the false choice between our security and our ideals. We can and we must and we will protect both."
Obama referenced April's Somali pirate attack as an example of the ways the Navy has had to adjust to a "full spectrum of threats." The new graduates, as they take up their military duties, will face the "ever-changing threats of an ever-changing world," he said.
Not only will the members of the Navy and the Marines need to fulfill their usual roles of defending the United States, Obama said, but they also need to "project American principles and values."
"Because for so many people around the world, you are the face of America," he said.
Obama promised that, just as the armed forces fulfills its commitment to the United States, America would fulfill its commitment to its armed forces.
"I will only send you into harm's way when it is absolutely necessary, and with the strategy, the well-defined goals, the equipment and the support you need to get the job done," he said. "This includes the job of bringing the Iraq war to a responsible end and pursuing a new comprehensive strategy to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and its allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan."
Obama spoke to a graduating class that included Jack McCain, son of Sen. John McCain, Obama's Republican opponent in the 2008 election
. Sen. McCain was reportedly at the ceremony. He tweeted
: "A great day for Jack! 4th generation graduating from the Naval Academy."
The Naval Academy speech was the third and final Commencement address Obama will give this season. It was also the least controversial.
Earlier this month he spoke at Arizona State University
, where he addressed the school's decision not to give him an honorary degree by saying that neither he nor the members of the graduating class were close to finishing their life's body of work.
Last Sunday, he spoke at the University of Notre Dame
, my alma mater, after weeks of protest over a Catholic school inviting a pro-choice president to speak, and again addressed the issue at hand -- this time abortion -- by urging people to find a common ground and to use "fair-minded words."