The PJ Tatler

Hagel Talks of Challenges Eight Times on First Day, Never Mentions Iran

In new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s speech to Pentagon staff and service members this morning, he said the word “challenge” five times in describing the global environment today’s military faces.

In his welcome message emailed to employees, he dropped “challenge” three times, and elaborated on these “future threats and challenges.”

“That means continuing to increase our focus on the Asia-Pacific region, reinvigorating historic alliances like NATO, and making new investments in critical capabilities like cyber,” Hagel said.

In neither address did he mention Iran.

“We are living in a very defining time in the world. You all know that. It’s a difficult time. 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,” Hagel said at the Pentagon.

“If there’s one thing America has stood for more than any one thing, is that we — we are a force for good. We make mistakes. We’ve made mistakes. We’ll continue to make mistakes. But we are a force for good. And we should never, ever forget that, and we should always keep that out in front as much as any one thing that drives us every day.”

In his letter to staff, he said the country is “emerging from more than a decade of war, yet the threats facing us are no less dangerous or complicated.”

“I have long believed that America must maintain the strongest military on earth; we must lead the international community, with a steady and sure hand to confront threats and challenges together as we work closely with our allies and partners to advance our common interests and build a more hopeful world,” Hagel wrote. “We must use all tools of American power to protect our citizens and our interests; and America must engage — not retreat — in the world, but engage wisely.”