The PJ Tatler

House Armed Services Chairman to Hagel: Not Defense Sec's Job to 'Lead from Behind'

The House Armed Services Committee chairman said he’s waiting to see what Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel has to say before the Senate Armed Services panel tomorrow, but said he hopes to hear that the former Nebraska senator would not “lead from behind” on securing proper funding for men and women in uniform.

“Tomorrow, I hope to hear testimony from an advocate for a robust and well equipped military. I hope to hear from a nominee who discusses in real terms the resources and support our men and women in uniform need to meet the inadequate defense strategy that President Obama has mandated. In short, I want to hear from a supporter of the Department of Defense,” said Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.).

“We live in a hostile world going through difficult times. In this world, perhaps no force is as hostile to our warfighter as the book keepers at the Office of Management and Budget. Any Secretary of Defense, Democrat or Republican, Hawk or Dove, must understand that their first obligation is to win the budget battle at the White House. After all, no military victory can be achieved unless our Armed Forces are properly resourced,” he continued.

“President Obama has long advocated a ‘lead from behind’ approach to National Security. He places great importance on soft power and stirring words. That is all well and good, but as we have seen, this approach often ends in the need for swift, decisive military action. The job of Secretary of Defense is not to laud the ‘lead from behind approach’, it is not to act as a surrogate to the Secretary of State nor is it to become OMB’s man on the inside. The Secretary’s job is to make sure that when the Commander-in-Chief orders forces into harm’s way, they are ready to go.”

McKeon said he wants to see Hagel as willing to fight for men and women uniform as his predecessors were.

“I hope his lauded independent streak manifests itself in the form of skepticism over the White House approach,” the chairman said. “I cannot see supporting a nominee I don’t believe puts the readiness and well being of the warfighters above all other concerns.”