Panetta Pledges ‘No Hollow Force’ on His Watch

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2011 — New Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta pledged there will be no hol­low force on his watch.
The sec­re­tary made the com­mit­ment in a mes­sage to the Defense Depart­ment released after he took the oath of office this morn­ing. DOD Gen­er­al Coun­sel Jeh John­son admin­is­tered the oath in the secretary’s office. Tak­ing the oath trans­ferred respon­si­bil­i­ty for the depart­ment from Robert M. Gates.

Panet­ta also pledged to be a tire­less advo­cate for ser­vice mem­bers and their fam­i­lies. “You and your fam­i­lies will always be fore­most on my mind and at the top of my agen­da,” he said.

The sec­re­tary will not hes­i­tate to do what needs to be done to defend Amer­i­ca. He also will fight for the needs “of the men and women who serve in harm’s way, and the fam­i­lies who sup­port them,” he said. “Even as the Unit­ed States address­es fis­cal chal­lenges at home, there will be no hol­low force on my watch. That will require us all to be dis­ci­plined in how we man­age tax­pay­er resources.”

Lat­er today, Panet­ta will meet with Deputy Defense Sec­re­tary William J. Lynn III, and par­tic­i­pate in a “tank” meet­ing with the mem­bers of the Joint Chiefs, said Doug Wil­son, assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for pub­lic affairs. Panet­ta and his wife, Sylvia, also will have lunch in his Pen­ta­gon office with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Deb­o­rah.

The sec­re­tary, who served as the direc­tor of the CIA, has been inti­mate­ly involved with oper­a­tions around the world since the begin­ning of the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. The nation is at war, he said, and must pre­vail against its ene­mies.

“We will per­sist in our efforts to dis­rupt, dis­man­tle and ulti­mate­ly defeat al-Qai­da,” he said. “The suc­cess­ful oper­a­tion that killed Osama Bin Laden — a mis­sion that show­cased Amer­i­can mil­i­tary strength and pre­ci­sion — is a major step toward that goal.”

In Afghanistan, the sec­re­tary said ser­vice mem­bers must con­tin­ue to work with Afghan secu­ri­ty forces and coali­tion part­ners to tran­si­tion secu­ri­ty respon­si­bil­i­ty to the Afghans by 2014. The goal must be an Afghanistan that nev­er again becomes a safe haven for ter­ror­ists, he said.

The tran­si­tion of Amer­i­can troops in Iraq is well under way with more than 100,000 U.S. ser­vice mem­bers out of the nation, and 48,000 due to leave by the end of the year.

“As we con­tin­ue our tran­si­tion out of Iraq, we must cement a strate­gic rela­tion­ship with the Iraqi gov­ern­ment, one based not sole­ly on our mil­i­tary foot­print there but on a real and last­ing part­ner­ship,” Panet­ta said. “It is in America’s inter­ests to help Iraq real­ize its poten­tial to become a sta­ble democ­ra­cy in a vital­ly impor­tant region in the world and to rein­force that respon­si­bil­i­ty, for the future secu­ri­ty of Iraq must belong to the Iraqis them­selves.”

The sec­re­tary has a long pub­lic ser­vice career that began as an Army intel­li­gence offi­cer in 1964. He also served in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Cal­i­for­nia, direc­tor of the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get and White House chief of staff in Pres­i­dent Clinton’s admin­is­tra­tion. Through­out his career, he said, he has focused on being dis­ci­plined with the tax­pay­ers’ mon­ey, but not short-chang­ing secu­ri­ty.

“We must pre­serve the excel­lence and supe­ri­or­i­ty of our mil­i­tary while look­ing for ways to iden­ti­fy sav­ings,” he said. “While tough bud­get choic­es will need to be made, I do not believe in the false choice between fis­cal dis­ci­pline and a strong nation­al defense. We will all work togeth­er to achieve both.”

The sec­re­tary not­ed he is tak­ing office just before Inde­pen­dence Day. He said his par­ents — who immi­grat­ed to Cal­i­for­nia from Italy — believed it was impor­tant to give some­thing back to their adopt­ed coun­try. “I will nev­er for­get my father’s words: ‘to be free, we must also be secure,’ ” Panet­ta said. “As Amer­i­cans come togeth­er to com­mem­o­rate what we and those before us have accom­plished, and as I take on my new role, my thoughts are with you and your fam­i­lies.

“You are mak­ing per­son­al sac­ri­fices to pre­serve our lib­er­ty, serv­ing on front lines around the world,” he con­tin­ued. “You are fight­ing to keep Amer­i­ca safe. Rest assured that I will fight with you and for you.”

Panet­ta said that in the days and weeks ahead he will meet with all lev­els of mil­i­tary per­son­nel and DOD civil­ians.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →