President Obama nominated Hagel for his experience in government and the private sector, as well as his principled stances in containing our involvement in foreign wars. Most importantly, Hagel is needed to bring a fresh outlook regarding the role of the Pentagon in asserting American military power in the world, as well as in the all-important area of cost containment.
Hagel can look forward to right-sizing the Pentagon budget while recognizing the limitations of the notion of asserting America's military power to further the idea of Manifest Destiny. Another constraining factor impacts the Pentagon: nature itself. The eastern coastline of the United States has been under heavy assault from a number of major hurricanes and floods.
The aftermath of these natural disasters has required years of rebuilding and the active intervention of the Army Corps of Engineers. Recently, Hurricane Sandy proved to be unprecedented in the northeast corridor. Now, the Defense Department must consider the impact of weatherization as an important consideration in protecting citizens from great harm.
Right now, there are important foreign policy challenges in the world. Examples are the unwillingness of Iran to cooperate fully in eliminating its pursuit of nuclear weapons components and related technologies. Syria has had social unrest together with harsh governmental policies in recent years, yet Assad will not step down. In addition, North Korea has expressed interest in reunification with the South.
All of these issues, individually and collectively will pose considerable challenges to our diplomatic and defense efforts well into the future. Ultimately, the United States must discover the proper balance between diplomacy, the use of soft power, sanctions and an assertive military posture to deflect the challenges which the future will most certainly present. Lastly, Chuck Hagel will be running the Defense Department, if confirmed. The overall efforts in the execution of soft power and diplomacy will be done by the diplomatic team, as well as the new Secretary of State: John Kerry. Overall policy will be set by President Obama.