- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2014

Outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel took a pass when asked if it will be a loss for the Pentagon to have a defense secretary without combat experience.

“That’s not for me to decide,” Mr. Hagel told CNN. “Everybody brings to their positions their own set of experiences and their own strengths.”

President Obama nominated former Pentagon official Ashton Carter to be the next defense secretary on Friday. Mr. Hagel, who said he decided to step down after several conversations with Mr. Obama led him to believe the Pentagon needed a leadership change, did not attend the event.

Mr. Hagel went on to say that he has confidence in Afghan security forces to stabilize the region as U.S. troops prepare to end their combat role there.

“They want us here. They want us to help them assist, advise, train,” Mr. Hagel said. “How we left Iraq was totally different. The Iraqi government did not want us there. The Iraqi people did not want us there.”

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