Panetta Sworn in as Defense Secretary

Leon Panetta became the 23rd Defense Secretary Friday during a swearing-in ceremony at the Pentagon. “As Secretary of Defense, I will do whatever is necessary to protect America and to meet the needs of the men and women who serve in harm’s way, and the families who support them,” said Panetta, most recently CIA director, in his message to DOD. “Even as the United States addresses fiscal challenges at home, there will be no hollow force on my watch.” He said while the nation will need to make tough budget choices, “I do not believe in the false choice between fiscal discipline and a strong national defense. We will all work together to achieve both.” Panetta also thanked DOD personnel for their sacrifices. He replaced Bob Gates, who retired after leading the Pentagon since December 2006. (Panetta’s new DOD biography)