Pentagon: Hagel Won’t Alter Agenda in Lame Duck Period

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel remains focused on implementing reforms and recommendations he and his team have worked to put in place before he leaves the position. Speaking to reporters the day after Hagel announced his resignation, Kirby said that despite multiple reports of tensions between the Pentagon and the White House national security team, Hagel considers himself a “strong partner” with the Administration. Hagel is not focused on “atmospherics” and “sniping” from anonymous sources, but the large number of unfinished tasks at the Defense Department, added Kirby. “We’ve got a mission ending in Afghanistan, and a new one on the way,” Kirby said, in addition to budget uncertainties and engaging with allies to defeat ISIS. Kirby said Hagel will work hard to push through reforms he has focused on during his time at the Pentagon, such as reforming the military justice system, finishing a pending medals and awards review, and continuing to focus on improving the fight against sexual assault in the military. There is an understanding Hagel will “implement and carry to conclusion” some of these initiatives, Kirby said. (OSD also issued a white paper on Monday outlining Hagel’s priorities and accomplishments).