Leon Panetta Calls Chuck Hagel ‘Smart, Capable’

December 19, 2012

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had encouraging words Tuesday for his potential successor, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel.

Panetta told The World-Herald he has known Hagel, a Republican, for many years and described him as smart and capable. He noted, however, that taking over an organization of more than 3 million people isn’t easy. “The ability to put his arms around it will take a little time, but I think he can do it,” Panetta said.

Panetta’s comments came just before a luncheon address at the National Press Club during which he discussed his tenure as Pentagon chief and the challenges facing the nation’s military.

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