In an exclusive interview with Charlie Rose at the Pentagon yesterday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel warned of the unprecedented challenges facing the United States military role on the global stage.
“The world is dangerous. It is damn dangerous,” Hagel said.
“We live in this imperfect, dynamic, changing, threatening, dangerous, interconnected world that we have never seen before, that we have never seen anything like this before,” Hagel said. “And so policies, yes, are predicated on historical knowledge and cultural awareness and all that goes into that. Have we made mistakes over a series of many years? Yeah, I think we have. I think anybody would agree to that. But that’s not the issue. That’s not the responsibility I have now or the president has or John Kerry. Our responsibilities now are to find ways that we can make it better, find strategies and policies that work within a world of uncontrollables.”
Hagel went on to lament the mismatch between these unique challenges facing the DoD and its shrinking budget.
The Defense Department is “being called upon to do more everywhere. I mean, look at the last six months, where — we now are involved where we weren’t six months ago,” Hagel said. “And our budget continues to be cut. Something doesn’t connect here. And that’s going to have to change.”
Hagel’s message echoed part of the speech he delivered at the Reagan Library on Saturday. The location then was an appropriate one; as president Reagan once said that “defense is not a budget issue. You spend what you need.”
Without relief from the cuts Hagel said the United States could find itself losing pole position for the first time since World War II. And that would mean the risk of one day fighting “a fair fight.”
“We won’t have the readiness. We won’t have the capability. We won’t have long-term investments that this institution requires to stay ahead of everybody else, as we have since World War II, with the technological edge, with the ability to continue to recruit and retain the best people.”
Full article: HAGEL: The World Is ‘Damn Dangerous’ And Our Army Is Not Ready (International Business Times)