It’s Official Now

Vice President Joe Biden last week swore in Leon Panetta as the 23rd Defense Secretary, three weeks after the former CIA head took the Pentagon helm from Robert Gates in a private ceremony. US military personnel, Obama Administration cabinet members, and members of Congress filled the Pentagon auditorium for the July 22 ceremony during which Panetta swore to “faithfully discharge the duties” of the office. “Leon,” said Biden, “I think the Pentagon is getting something special with you. Beyond all your knowledge and management capabilities, they’re getting your heart. . . . Just like Secretary Gates, I know how you feel about these kids.” Biden added, “This may be the greatest honor ever bestowed on you—the privilege of leading these men and women, the greatest fighting force the world has ever, ever seen.” (Pentagon release)