SECRETARY HAGEL TAKES ON PENTAGON’S TOP CHALLENGE: RESHAPING ITSELF
Washington DC – April 3, 2013– News Release – In his first major speech at National Defense University, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel laid out one of the most difficult challenges in Washington – reshaping the Pentagon for 21st century strategic and fiscal realities.
“For too long Cold War ideology, special interests and a ‘this-is-the-way-we-do-things’ mentality has controlled the strategy and checkbook of the Pentagon,” said Laicie Heeley, senior policy analyst at The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. “U.S. national security needs to be based on a sound strategy that meets 21st century security threats, including the threat posed by our ballooning debt.”
Despite ending the War in Iraq and closing out the War in Afghanistan, Congress has continued to pour more and more into the Pentagon without effective oversight to create programs that meet modern strategic needs or end programs that are overly expensive and fundamental flawed.
“Just as Secretary Gates noted before him, Hagel has recognized that continuing to wildly spend without a strategic vision is not only bad policy, it’s dangerous to US national security,” said Heeley. “America needs a strong military and a strong military is rooted in an appropriate strategy that addresses the contemporary security climate and not Cold War ideologies.”
Secretary Hagel noted that “a thorough examination of the way our military is organized and operates will also highlight our inherent strengths.”
“By taking a closer look at the way our military is run, we can develop a stronger, safer strategy for the future,” said Heeley.“This is the right path forward, the key lies in what actions Hagel will now take to implement it.”
Heeley rejected one portion of the Secretary’s argument that “America does not have the luxury of retrenchment.”
“In fact, after two disastrous wars, retrenchment is urgently needed,” said Heeley. “However, retrenchment by limiting military intervention cannot be confused with abandoning U.S. global responsibilities.”
The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington-based non-profit think tank working to reduce the number of nuclear weapons stockpiled across the globe, increase international nonproliferation programs targeted at preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism, redirect U.S. military spending to address 21st century security threats and halt the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. www.armscontrolcenter.org