U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to U.S. troops in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, March 9, 2013. The troops are assigned to the 101st Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
Hagel Dogged By Problems As He Settles In As Defense Secretary -- Stars and Stripes
ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT — It might just be the roughest break-in period that any U.S. defense secretary has faced.
Last month, outraged Republican senators made their former colleague Chuck Hagel’s confirmation process the most contentious in the nation’s history. He stumbled in a confirmation hearing, and some senators later questioned the twice-wounded Army veteran’s loyalty, saying he appeared “cozy” with Iran.
On March 1, two days after senators ended a filibuster and confirmed the former Nebraska senator as defense secretary, huge automatic budget cuts kicked in. Immediately, the so-called doomsday mechanism known as “sequestration” slashed $46 billion from the fiscal 2013 Pentagon budget, and reduced Pentagon spending by $500 billion over the coming decade — cuts that will primarily be Hagel’s to manage.
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Update: In First Overseas Trip, Hagel Offers a Terse Review: ‘It’s Complicated’ -- New York Times
My Comment: Here is an easy prediction .... his number one problem will be to limit the long term damage that massive defense budget cuts will have on the U.S. military and the industrial base that supports it. But President Obama is clearly focused on cutting the military ..... and at the end of his term of office it will not surprise me if Chuck Hagel will become known as the Defense Secretary that eviscerated the U.S. Defense Department as we know it .... and not as the one who saved it.