Hagel invokes Eisenhower as he signals era of austerity at Pentagon (+video)
In his first major policy speech, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel talks of employing military power 'judiciously' and using resources 'with a minimum of waste.'
In his first major policy speech Wednesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel signaled he will be taking a hard look at the way the Pentagon spends its money and at whether the US military needs quite so many officers.
He also said that while the US military “remains an essential tool of American power,” it is also “one that must be used judiciously, with a keen appreciation of its limits.”
Speaking at the National Defense University in Washington, Secretary Hagel invoked the memory of President Dwight Eisenhower, who came up as a young officer in the wake of the Great Depression. He noted that the World War II general spoke at the same university 50 years ago.
“The wise and prudent administration of the vast resources required by defense calls for extraordinary skill in meshing the military, political, economic, and social machinery of our modern life,” Hagel said, quoting Eisenhower. “So the greatest effective use is made of resources with a minimum of waste and misapplication.”
Now that the “gusher” of war-time military spending is turned off, Hagel said, top Pentagon officials will be taking a hard look at some key spending areas.
This speech signaled precisely what those areas will be: acquisitions, personnel costs, and overhead.