News / USA

New US Defense Chief: US Can't Dictate to the World

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to service members and civilian employees at the Pentagon after being sworn-in, Feb. 27, 2013.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to service members and civilian employees at the Pentagon after being sworn-in, Feb. 27, 2013.
VOA News
Former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel was sworn in as defense secretary Wednesday, saying the United States must not dictate to the world.

Hagel told Pentagon employees America must engage with the rest of the globe. He said no nation as great as the United States can lead alone.

He acknowledged the challenges the Pentagon faces because of the billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts that are likely to take effect Friday.

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden (R) applaud Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel after the president announced Hagel's resignaton at the White House in Washington, Nov. 24, 2014.
  • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, Washington, Nov. 14, 2014.
  • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel talks to marines at a training range as he observes an experimental infantry unit that is going to help assess which combat jobs can be opened to women in 2016, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Nov. 18, 2014.
  • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Armed Services committee hearing on the Islamic State militants, Washington, Nov. 13, 2014.
  • President Barack Obama, next to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, speaks to the media about Ebola during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Oct. 15, 2014.
  • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to service members and civilian employees at the Pentagon after being sworn in, Feb. 27, 2013.
  • Outgoing Senator Chuck Hagel greets supporters after a farewell news conference in Omaha, Nebraska, December 18, 2008.
  • Then Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, David Petraeus, and Chuck Hagel ride in a helicopter, Baghdad, Iraq, July 21, 2008. (US Army)
  • Then President George W. Bush and then Senator Chuck Hagel embrace at the Airlite Plastics Company in Omaha, Nebraska, May 12, 2003.
  • Then Senator Chuck Hagel, left, and Senator John Kerry, shake hands while with other senators who served in Vietnam at the 15th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, March 7, 1997.
  • Chuck Hagel (right) standing outside tents in Vietnam, circa 1968. (Library of Congress)

The new chief said his department will have to deal with the reality of the cuts. He pledged to do everything in his power to be what he said is the kind of leader the Pentagon and country expect and deserve.

Chuck Hagel
  1. Chairman of the Atlantic Council public policy group
  2. Co-chairman of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board
  3. Republican U.S. senator from 1997-2009 representing Nebraska
  4. Served in Vietnam in 1968, where he earned two Purple Hearts
  5. Born in 1946 in Nebraska
The Senate confirmed Hagel Tuesday after bitter confirmation hearings. Some of the senators accused Hagel of being too lenient toward Iran and too critical of Israel. Others found fault with him for opposing the 2007 U.S. troop surge in Iraq.

Hagel, a former enlisted solider, succeeds Leon Panetta and is the first Vietnam War veteran to serve as defense chief.

"We are living in a very defining time in the world, you all know that. It's a difficult time," said Hagel. "It's a time of tremendous challenge. But there are opportunities and I think it's important that we all stay focused obviously on our jobs, on our responsibilities, which are immense, but not lose sight of the possibilities for a better world."

You May Like

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Tattoos, hookah bars and doughnuts? Google Maps lays out what people really have on their minds during the holiday

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Ed from: Brick NJ
February 27, 2013 12:50 PM
Let`s give Mr Hagel a chance to perform well. Isn`that what presidents get?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs