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July 08, 2011

Armywide News

Panetta pledges ‘no hollow force’ on his watch

By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — New Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta pledged there will be no hollow force on his watch.
The secretary made the commitment in a message to the Defense Department released after he took the oath of office July 1. Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson administered the oath in the secretary’s office. Taking the oath transferred responsibility for the department from Robert M. Gates.
PHOTO: Leon E. Panetta takes the oath of office as the 23rd U.S. Secretary of Defense. Photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey
Leon E. Panetta takes the oath of office as the 23rd U.S. Secretary of Defense during a Pentagon ceremony, July 1, 2011. Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson administered the oath in the secretary’s office. (Photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey)

Panetta also pledged to be a tireless advocate for servicemembers and their Families.

“You and your Families will always be foremost on my mind and at the top of my agenda,” he said.

The secretary will not hesitate to do what needs to be done to defend America. He also will fight for the needs “of the men and women who serve in harm’s way, and the Families who support them,” he said.

“Even as the United States addresses fiscal challenges at home, there will be no hollow force on my watch. That will require us all to be disciplined in how we manage taxpayer resources.”

The secretary, who served as the director of the CIA, said the nation is at war, he said, and must prevail against its enemies.

“We will persist in our efforts to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat al-Qaida,” he said. “The successful operation that killed Osama Bin Laden — a mission that showcased American military strength and precision — is a major step toward that goal.”

In Afghanistan, the secretary said service members must continue to work with Afghan security forces and coalition partners to transition security responsibility to the Afghans by 2014.

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