Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hagel Focused on Defense Mission, Kirby Says

By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is focused on the defense mission as the search for his successor begins, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today.

“The secretary is going to stay at the job and stay at work and continue to do the things that he has been doing the last two years,” Kirby told reporters during a news briefing.

In Hagel’s time at the department he’s launched more than a dozen reforms, the admiral said, noting that many of those reforms have been implemented and some -- including a military justice system review and efforts to reduce military sexual assaults -- are still being worked through.

“He's very much focused on implementing the recommendations and changes that he has accepted from the reforms that we put in place ... [and] also working with the groups that he has working on other reform initiatives he has out there,” Kirby said.

The defense secretary will continue to emphasize the three priorities he outlined in a speech in Chicago in May: people, capabilities and partnerships, the press secretary said.

“It's very much for him about, you know, continuing to keep -- to keep his foot on the pedal and moving forward,” he said.

Of particular importance is continuing to develop the U.S. relationship with Asian-Pacific nations, Kirby said. Hagel was forced to postpone a planned trip to the region due to scheduling conflicts. But, the press secretary said, the department and Hagel are committed to the rebalance.

“The secretary has made six trips to the region since he's been secretary ... He has been very, very much a point man on the Asia-Pacific rebalance, securing important agreements with many countries over there for increased U.S. rotational presence,” the admiral said.

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