Obama Hosts Farewell Tribute for Hagel

President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Army Gen. Martin Dempsey presided over the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute for outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Wednesday at JB Myer-Henderson Hall, Va. Obama praised Hagel for helping to reinvigorate NATO in the aftermath of the Crimea crisis, building engagement with Asia-Pacific allies and partners, and recently working to complete new US-India agreements. He also thanked him for reaching out to enlisted service members and working to tackle sexual assault reforms. Hagel thanked the men and women of the US military and the President, for “giving me the honor of serving the American people” in a difficult time—an opportunity he said he could not have imagined when he first joined the Army as an enlisted man. With all the challenges facing the United States, Hagel reminded the crowd it is “not the critics that count, but those who are willing to work towards building a better world.” The Senate will hold a confirmation hearing for Ashton Carter, President Obama’s nominee to be the next Defense Secretary, on Feb. 4. (Obama transcript.) (Hagel tribute page.)