Posts

Military Connection: Hagel’s Visit to Afghanistan: By Debbie Gregory

Hagel in Afghanistan

Last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, his first since 2012. During the trip, Hagel announced the delayed withdrawal of up to 1,000 U.S. service members from Afghanistan. This will happen during the transition to Operation Resolute Support (ORS), the post-2014 mission in the country still fighting Taliban and other terrorist groups.

Hagel was present at a joint press conference in Kabul, with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Hagel discussed the reasons for the delayed withdrawal of some troops, and the transition from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force mission to ORS. Hagel also discussed how the Afghan Parliament approved the U.S.-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement and the NATO Status of Forces Agreement.

The Defense Secretary cited previous delays with signing the agreements for the later-than-expected withdrawal.

“This will mean a delayed withdrawal of up to 1,000 U.S. troops,” Hagel said, “so that up to 10,800 troop, rather than 9,800, could remain in Afghanistan through the end of this year and through the first few months next year.”

Hagel also mentioned that the mission and the long-term schedule for a withdrawal from Afghanistan were unchanged. The Pentagon leader said that U.S. forces in Afghanistan would continue to have the right and the capacity to defend themselves against attacks. The U.S. forces that remain in Afghanistan for Operation Resolute Support will continue to train and assist Afghan Security Forces. Hopefully, this will deter groups like Al-Qaeda and the Taliban from using Afghanistan as a safe haven from which to launch attacks on the U.S. and its allies.

Hagel, who recently tendered his resignation as Secretary of Defense, said that he observed progress in Afghanistan during his time in the Pentagon, and before with the U.S. Senate.

“I have seen, first-hand, over many years of visits to this country the enormous progress that this country has made in its development, in its democracy, in its possibilities and hope for all its people,” Hagel said. “And that, I think, is further testimony to the strong partnership of our two countries.”

NATO coalition forces will transition to Operation Resolute Support at the end of December, 2014. Then Afghan forces will assume full responsibility for their nation’s security, while U.S. and coalition forces will train, advise and assist.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Hagel’s Visit to Afghanistan: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Defense Secretary Resigns: By Debbie Gregory

hagel resignsOn Monday, November 24, 2014, Chuck Hagel resigned as Defense Secretary. Hagel has been serving as the nation’s second highest military official, after the commander-in-chief, since February 27, 2013.

Over the past two years, Secretary Hagel helped steer the United States Armed Forces through a period of transition, including the drawdown in Afghanistan, as well as through tough fiscal decisions. It has been reported that sometime in October, Hagel began speaking with President Obama about his resignation.

Numerous media outlets have suggested that the president forced Hagel to resign. The Monday morning media hype was full of reports that the White House lost confidence in Hagel’s ability to carry out his role at the Pentagon.

Secretary Hagel was brought in to the position to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to help restructure the U.S. military to a peace time force size. With the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, the needs of the U.S. military are changing, and a different type of leadership, other than what Mr. Hagel can provide, seems to be necessary.

In a statement at the White House, President Obama announced the resignation of Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary. Despite reports of their differences, the president had nothing but kind words to say about Hagel.

“When it’s mattered most behind closed doors, in the Oval Office, you’ve always given it to me straight. For that, I will always be grateful,” President Obama said.

Hagel called serving as Secretary of Defense “the greatest privilege of my life.”

Hagel will remain as Secretary of Defense until a replacement can be confirmed by Congress. Speculations about a possible replacement include former under-secretary of Defense Michèle A. Flournoy, and a former deputy-secretary of Defense, Ashton B. Carter.

Hagel is a former Senator from Nebraska, and the only enlisted combat Veteran to become Secretary of Defense. Hagel served in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Squad leader. He was deployed to Vietnam in 1967-68 with the 9th Infantry Division. Hagel is the recipient of the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, two Purple Hearts, an Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Defense Secretary Resigns: By Debbie Gregory