Defense chief cites Eisenhower, fiscal pressures in first major policy speech
April 3rd, 2013
12:45 PM ET

Defense chief cites Eisenhower, fiscal pressures in first major policy speech

By Larry Shaughnessy

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel quoted President Dwight Eisenhower Wednesday, telling rising military officers "the wise and prudent administration of the vast resources required by defense calls for extraordinary skill."

In his first major policy speech since taking over the Pentagon, Hagel focused on the budget problems facing the Defense Department and the rest of the government.

"A combination of fiscal pressures and a gridlocked political process has led to far more abrupt and deeper reductions than were planned for or expected. Now DoD is grappling with the serious and immediate challenge of sequester - which is forcing us to take as much as a $41 billion cut in this current fiscal year," Hagel said at the National Defense University at Fort McNair.

He warned that much of the burden of that fiscal pressure will fall on DoD employees.

"Fiscal realities demand another hard look at personnel - how many people we have (military and civilian), how many we need; what these people do, and how we compensate them for their work, service, and loyalty with pay, benefits and health care," Hagel said.

The secretary warned that furloughs could have an impact in the Pentagon. "Across-the-board reductions of the size we are looking at will demand that we furlough civilian personnel, which could affect morale and may impact productivity."

But Hagel said the answer is not, as is often proposed, running the Defense Department like a business. "The military is not, and should never be, run like a corporation. But that does not mean we don't have a good deal to learn from what the private sector has achieved over the past 20 to 30 years."

But in spite of the concern about fiscal issues, Hagel reminded the officers in the audience that the DoD's main goal remains protecting the country.
"The goal of the senior leadership of this department today is to learn from the miscalculations and mistakes of the past drawdowns, and make the right decisions that will sustain our military strength, advance our strategic interests and protect our nation well into the future."

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Filed under: Defense Spending • Hagel • Sequestration
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015. ha ha ha

    April 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  2. Joseph McCarthy

    Didn't Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower warn us in a speech back in 1959 about the growing power of the military-industrial-complex(M.I.C.) in Washington? He did, but it's too bad that so few listened! Today, the M.I.C. is running our foreign policies and has managed to corrupt Barack Obama into continuing aggressive foreign policies that we've been following for decades on end!

    April 3, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Reply
    • 1371usmc

      Corrupt President Obama?????? Please tell me that's a joke? Your about 40 years off on that comment

      April 3, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Reply

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