Hagel: 'U.S. Military Capability is Being Threatened'

November 20, 2014

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told Charlie Rose that U.S. military capability is "being threatened," echoing statements from his speech at the Reagan Library on Saturday.

Hagel said the capacity of the U.S. military to effectively respond to global crises has been "taken for granted" since the end of World War II.

"I am worried about it; I am concerned about it; Chairman Dempsey is; the chiefs are--every leader of this institution. Now today, right now, as we sit here, we still are the most dominant, most powerful, most effective country, economy and military in the world, There's no one close to us right now," Hagel told Rose during a PBS interview aired Wednesday.

"But as I also said in that speech, our ability, capability is something we can't take for granted. We essentially kind of have taken it for granted since World War II because we've been willing to invest the resources in this because American people have felt, every American leader, that it's important that the military not ever been our military in fair fight."

Hagel addressed plans to maintain the technological dominance of the U.S. military and said he would "fail his job" if he was not forthright about what the military is lacking as it faces growing challenges and crises across the globe.

"It is being threatened Charlie, and the American people got to know that. I would fail my job if i wasn't honest," Hagel said. "The congress needs to know this. They need to understand it. Our leaders have been very clear on this. Now we're not up on the roof with a white flag. It isn't a crises point. But this business is investment and the main responsibility for any leader, Charlie, you know, is to prepare your institution for the future."