Tough As Nails?

With sequestration barreling down, the Defense Department needs to have a strong leader who will carry the Pentagon through these austere times, said panel members at an American Enterprise Institute event in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Since Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been in his job for just three weeks, “the jury’s out” in that regard, said Gordon Adams, a professor of US foreign policy at American University. Hagel is “challenged in one respect because he comes in without deep knowledge” of DOD affairs and “that’s a real critical problem,” said Adams. Countering that position was Arnold Punaro, a retired Marine Corps major general, who said Hagel is “tough as nails.” Although Punaro agreed that it’s too early to tell what kind of leader Hagel will be, he said: “In my experience, anytime you put a sergeant in charge of things at the Pentagon, good things happen.” Punaro added, “I think he’s going to tackle these tough issues,” and uniformed personnel and civilians are “not going to push him around.” (AEI webpage of March 21 with video link)