For First Black Pentagon Chief, Racism Is Personal
Newly confirmed U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin faces a world of security threats and a large military bureaucracy. The first Black defense leader also faces another problem in the military: removing racism and extremism among soldiers.
Austin takes office as Americans are starting to understand that some of the people who took part in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol were current or former members of the military.
The retired four-star general recently told senators that the Pentagon's job is to "keep America safe from our enemies. But we can't do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks."
Removing racists from the military is not his only immediate goal. Austin's military will also play an important part in making sure all Americans get the coronavirus vaccine.
But the racism issue is personal for Austin. Before the 93-2 vote that confirmed him in the Senate on Tuesday, he explained why.
In 1995, while Austin was serving at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, three white soldiers were arrested in the murder of a Black man and woman who were walking down the street. Investigators said the two were killed because of their race.
The killing forced an investigation, and 22 soldiers were linked to "skinhead" groups or others holding extremist beliefs. "Skinhead" is a term used to describe neo-Nazis or others with extreme racist opinions. Of the 22 soldiers, 17 were considered white supremacists or separatists.
"We woke up one day and discovered we had extremist elements in our ranks," Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"We discovered that the signs for the activity were there all along. We just didn't know what to look for or what to pay attention to," he added.
Austin is not the first secretary to see this problem. Racism has long been an issue in the military. Leaders say only a small number of soldiers hold extremist views. However, there have been several acts of racial hatred.
A recent Air Force report found that Black service members in the Air Force were far more likely to be investigated, arrested, face disciplinary actions and be asked to leave the military.
Based on 2018 information, about 66 percent of the military's members are white and about 17 percent are Black in the lower ranks. In the higher ranks, the percentage of Black members decreases. The American population is about 75 percent white and 13 percent Black.
Over the past year, military leaders have tried to make changes. But change came slowly during the administration of President Donald Trump. For example, it took many months for the Pentagon to ban the Confederate flag last year. The flag has long been a symbol of racism, because it was the flag of the slave-holding South during the American Civil War.
Senators asked Austin many questions about extremism in the military and about his plans to remove it. The hearing was held two weeks after lawmakers fled the deadly attack at the Capitol. Many of the attackers held racist or extremist views.
Senator Tim Kaine asked Austin about the steps he will take, adding that "if we're divided against one another, how can we defend the nation?"
Austin -- who broke racial barriers throughout his 40-year Army career -- said military leaders must send a clear message that extremist behavior is unacceptable.
Austin was the first Black man to serve as head of U.S. Central Command and the first to be the Army's vice chief of staff. He said solutions must come from within the military services and lower-ranking leaders. They must make sure that their soldiers are trained and know what behaviors are not permitted.
Austin said it will not be an easy problem to fix. He also said training is necessary and must continue throughout a soldier's time in the military.
Austin was approved after legislators gave him a waiver to overcome a law that bans anyone from serving as defense chief until they have been retired for more than seven years. Austin has been retired for five years.
After President Joe Biden signed the waiver, Austin walked into the Pentagon to begin his job. His first international phone call was to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The 67-year-old Austin is a 1975 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
I'm Susan Shand.
The population continues to increase.
The attack on Charles was unjust.
Some mushrooms contain a deadly poison.
I couldn't tell you that I'm an extremist.
5.We just didn't know what to look for or what to pay attention to," he added.
look for 寻找
I've had a good look for it, but I can't find it.
People were leaving the countryside in droves to look for work in the cities.
6.We just didn't know what to look for or what to pay attention to," he added.
pay attention to 注意
I didn't pay attention to what she was saying.
You should always pay attention to personal grooming.
新任命的美国国防部长劳埃德·奥斯汀（Lloyd Austin）面临着世界安全威胁和庞大的军事官僚机构。第一位黑人国防领导人在军队中也面临着另一个问题：消除士兵中的种族主义和极端主义 。
这起谋杀案迫使警方展开调查，22名士兵与“光头党”或其他持有极端主义信仰的组织有关。“光头党”是一个用来描述新纳粹分子或其他持有极端种族主义观点的人的术语 。 在22名士兵中，17人被认为是白人至上主义者或分裂分子 。
“我们发现，这类活动的迹象一直存在。 我们不知道要寻找什么，或者要注意什么，”他补充道 。
奥斯丁不是第一个发现这个问题的部长。种族主义一直是军队中的一个问题 。领导人表示，只有一小部分士兵持有极端主义观点 。但是，发生了几起种族仇恨行为 。
根据2018年的信息，在军队担任下级领导人中，66%的成员是白人，17%是黑人。在高层中，黑人成员的比例下降 。美国人口中大约75%是白人，13%是黑人 。
在过去的一年里，军方领导人试图进行变革。但在特朗普总统在任期间，这一进程十分缓慢 。例如，去年五角大楼耗费数月才禁止使用联邦旗帜 。这面旗帜长期以来一直是种族主义的象征，因为它是美国内战期间南方蓄奴的旗帜 。
参议员们向奥斯丁提出了许多有关军队中的极端主义以及他清除极端主义的计划的问题。听证会是在国会议员逃离国会山致命袭击两周后举行的 。许多袭击者持有种族主义或极端主义观点 。
奥斯汀是第一位担任美国陆军中央司令部司令的黑人，也是第一位担任陆军副参谋长的黑人。他说，解决方案必须来自军队内部和下级领导人 。他们必须确保他们的士兵受过训练，知道什么行为是被禁止的 。
奥斯汀已经退休五年了。在乔·拜登总统签署弃权书后，奥斯丁走进五角大楼开始了他的工作 。他的第一通国际电话打给了北约秘书长延斯·斯托尔滕贝格 。