Hagel takes helm at Pentagon after bitter fight
WASHINGTON (AP) — Chuck Hagel was sworn in Wednesday as defense secretary — President Barack Obama's third in just over four years — and said that one of his highest priorities will be ensuring fair treatment of troops, veterans and their families.
He called the automatic budget cuts due to take effect on Friday — to include $46 billion in Pentagon reductions — "a reality" that "we need to deal with."
In 15 minutes of remarks to Pentagon employees shortly after becoming the nation's 24th secretary of defense, Hagel struck a tone of humility and cast himself as prepared to take on the full range of national security challenges.
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