On his last domestic trip as defense secretary, Chuck Hagel met with Marines and Sailors at Miramar Tuesday and stressed the importance of the military’s shift to the Asia-Pacific region.
All service members will participate in the U.S. military’s transition to the Asia-Pacific, Hagel said. A cornerstone of that shift will be to build the capabilities and capacities of allies in the region, he said.
This will become “more and more a critical component of our own strategic interests as we continue to help our allies build their capabilities,” the secretary said.
The United States will support those countries, “but we can’t take on all of the challenges by ourselves,” Hagel said. “They must do it as well.”
Hagel arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar after visiting the B-2 bomber base in Missouri and was scheduled to fly to the USS America off the coast of San Diego.
The world is a dynamic, ever-changing place, and the American military must be ready, the secretary said. A year ago, he said, no one would have forecast the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or the Ebola crisis in West Africa or the Russian actions in Ukraine.
The secretary thanked the service members for what they do for the United States every day. He also thanked the families.
“Again, I want to thank you for what you do for this country, what you’ve done for our country, what you will do for this country,” Hagel said. “It’s been a privilege to be your secretary of defense.”
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