Obama announces nominees for national security team
President taps Chuck Hagel for defense secretary, John Brennan and CIA director
- Duration 27:19
- Date Jan 7, 2013
President taps Chuck Hagel for defense secretary, John Brennan and CIA director
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As president and commander in chief.
My most solemn obligations the security of the American people.
For the past four years.
We've met that responsibility.
By ending the war in Iraq and beginning a transition Afghanistan.
The al-Qaeda core and taking out Osama bin -- By disrupting terrorist plots and saving countless American lives.
Among -- -- outstanding national security to especially grateful to Leon Panetta.
Who has led the CIA and our military with the incredible -- Leon after nearly five decades of service you have more.
There are on the right to return to civilian life.
All have much more to say about the -- distinguished service in the days ahead today I'd simply wanna conveyed.
Both to you -- the Soviet the eternal gratitude of the environment thank you so much.
I also want to thank Michael -- who's earned the admiration of all all of us who worked with across government.
And here in the White House.
In moments of transition he's guided the CIA with a steady hand -- acting director not once but twice.
And he is a consummate professional.
As I said everybody and the White House works with them everybody across agencies who works with -- considers them truly to be one of -- most outstanding.
National security team members and so Michael on behalf of all of us thank you and very bad for your continued -- Israel's leaders know that the work of protecting our nation has never got.
And we sort -- much to do.
And in the war in Afghanistan.
And caring for those who have borne the battle.
Preparing for the full range of threats from the unconventional.
To the convention.
Including things like cyber security.
And within our military continuing to ensure that our men and women in uniform can serve the country they love no matter who they want.
To help meet the challenges of our time I'm proud to announce my choice for two key members of my national security team.
Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense and John Brennan.
-- director of the central intelligence agents.
And Chuck Hagel is the leader that our troops deserve.
He is an American patriot.
He enlisted in the army and volunteered for Vietnam.
As a young private and then a sergeant he served with honor alongside his own brother.
When chuck was hit by shrapnel his brother saved.
When his brother was injured by -- mind.
Chuck risked his life to -- -- to say.
This very -- bears the scars and the shrapnel from battles he fought.
In our name.
Chuck -- leadership of our military would be historic.
He'd be the first person -- enlisted ranks to serve as secretary of defense.
Or a few secretaries who've been wounded in war.
In the first Vietnam veteran to lead the department.
-- I saw during our business together to Afghanistan and Iraq.
And Chuck Hagel.
Just a champion of our troops and our veterans and our military camps.
As -- leader of the BA he fought to give our veterans the benefits they deserve.
As head of the US all you devoted himself to caring for our troops.
Having studied under the GI bill himself he helped lead the fight.
From post 9/11 GI bill so today is returning heroes can get their education to.
-- co -- my intelligence advisory board he knows that armed forces collect.
Analyze and depend on good intelligence.
Chuck recognizes that American leadership is indispensable in a dangerous world I saw this and our travels together across the Middle East.
He understands that America stands strong us -- -- -- balance.
And with friends.
As a successful businessman.
He also knows that even as we make tough fiscal choices we have to do so -- Guided by our strategy and keep our military the strongest fighting force the world has ever known.
They -- more most importantly chuck knows the wars not an abstraction.
He understands that.
Sending young Americans to fight.
And believed in the dirt.
That's something we only do what it's absolutely necessary.
My frame of reference.
Is set is geared towards the guy at the bottom.
Who's doing the fighting.
And the -- Which -- our troops will always know just like sergeant hagel was there for his own brother secretary -- -- Will be there for you.
And finally chuck represents the bipartisan tradition that we need more -- Washington.
For his independence.
And commitment consensus he's earned the respect of national security and military leaders Republicans and Democrats including me.
In the -- but I came to admire his courage his judgment his willingness to speak his mind even if it wasn't popular.
Even if it defied the conventional wisdom.
That's exactly the -- I want -- my national security team.
Recognition when it comes to the defense of our country we are not Democrats or Republicans we are Americans.
Each of us has a responsible.
Chuck is set to be guided not by the interest of our party or president even but by the interest of our country.
So chuck I think -- and low event.
For agreeing to serve once more.
In the interests of our -- -- when I'm on the subject to -- for -- Let me say a few words by -- -- In John -- on the men and women of the CI we'll have.
The leadership of one of our nation's most skilled and respected intelligence professionals.
Not to mention that unique combination of smarts and strength.
He claims comes from growing up in New Jersey.
A 45 year veteran of the CIA.
John knows what our national security demands.
Intelligence the provides policy makers with the facts.
Strong analytic insights and a keen understanding of a dynamic work.
Given his extensive experience and travels which include by the way.
Traveling through the Arabian Peninsula where he camp -- tribesmen in the desert.
John has an invaluable perspective on the forces the history the culture the politics economics.
The desire for human dignity.
Driving so much of the changes in today's world.
Having held senior management analytic and operational positions -- the agency.
John's committed to investing in the range of intelligence capabilities we -- technical and human.
He literally built and then let the National Counterterrorism Center.
And he knows the risks that our intelligence professionals face every day.
John has lost colleagues and friends.
Heroes who stars not -- that memorial wall at -- The last four years as my advisor for counterterrorism and Homeland Security John developed.
And -- overseeing our comprehensive counterterrorism strategy.
A collaborative effort across the government including intelligence and defense and homeland security and law enforcement agencies.
So think about the results.
More I'll leave al-Qaeda.
Leaders and commanders have been removed from battlefield.
Than at any time since 9/11.
There communications recruiting training finances stroll under enormous strength.
All of which makes it harder to plan and carry out large scale attacks against our homeland.
And our entire team.
Including our exceptional Director of National Intelligence Jim clapper.
-- remain relentless against al-Qaeda.
And its affiliates.
In all this work John has been tireless.
People here and White House work work.
John is legendary even in the White House for workable.
Is one of the hardest working public servants.
I've ever seen.
I'm not sure you slot.
In four years.
-- when I was on Martha's Vineyard.
John came and did the press briefing.
Is in the summer -- August is also certain time.
And one of the reporters asked -- that don't you ever get a -- time.
I don't do down -- -- -- -- There's another reason -- value jobs so much and that is his integrity and his commitment to the values define us as Americans.
He has worked to embed our efforts -- strong legal framework.
He understands we are a nation of loss.
In moments of debate and decision.
He asked the tough questions any insists on high and rigorous standards.
Time and again he's spoken to the American people about our counterterrorism policies.
Because he recognizes we have -- responsible to be open and transparent as possible.
So John you've been one of my closest advisors.
You've been a great friend.
I'm deeply grateful.
For your extraordinary service -- even more grateful for -- Willingness to put up with -- -- And I am grateful to both of you for your willingness to take the -- Today I can say to the men and women of the CIA.
And director John Brennan you'll have one of your own a leader who knows you who cares for you deeply and who'll fight for you every single.
He'll have a leader who has my complete confidence and my complete trust.
As I said the work of defending our nation is ever doubt.
My number one criteria in making these decisions was simple.
Who is going to do the best job in securing America.
These two leaders have dedicated their lives to protecting our country.
I'm confident they will do an outstanding job.
I urge the senate to confirm them as soon as possible so we can keep our nation secure.
And the American people say.
So -- job.
Congratulations and -- that I want to invite each of these leaders on stage to say a few words starting where it.
Leon -- First of all.
Let me express.
My deepest gratitude.
To the president for giving me the honor.
And the privilege.
Of serving in your administration.
These last four years as director of the CIA.
And our secretary of defense.
I have been extremely proud.
To be part of your national security team Mr.
And to be proud of what is accomplished in your first term.
Looking ahead to the second term.
I want to commend President Obama.
On his decision to nominate.
Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense.
And let me also add his former director of the CIA.
-- like to commend the president for his choice of John Brennan.
Have had the opportunity to work with John and counterterrorism issues these last four years he knows the CIA.
He will be a strong leader.
Not that great intelligence agency.
Have also known -- for a long period of time as well.
I had the opportunity to work with him closely.
Particularly in his capacity.
As chairman of the president's intelligence advisory board.
I greatly appreciate.
The work he has done to strengthen our intelligence -- enterprise.
It has been extremely important.
-- ability to improve our intelligence capabilities.
In -- secretary of defense so I also benefited from his work.
When he served on our Defense Policy Board.
Chuck -- a goal.
Is a patriot.
He's a decorated combat veteran.
And he is a dedicated public servant.
I believe his experience his judgment his deep understanding of the security issues facing this country.
Make him the right choice.
To be secretary of defense.
As for me it.
After close to fifty years.
Of serving the American people.
Began in 1964.
When I served as the first lieutenant in the united states army.
And then in both the legislative and executive branch positions.
The time has come for me to return to my wife Sylvia.
Are three sons their families.
Are six grandchildren.
And my walnut farm.
Dealing with a different set of -- -- connected.
I want to deeply thank.
For giving me the fullest measure of love and support during my many absences from home throughout my long career in public service.
But I will leave Washington.
With a very deep sense of pride.
In what we have accomplished.
During these last four years.
Being on the president's national security team.
As both director of the CIA.
-- -- secretary of defense.
I have always believed that -- fundamental meshing.
Is to keep America safe to keep America secure.
And because of the outstanding dedication.
Of our intelligence and military professionals.
America is safer and more secure.
Than it was four years ago.
And we have reached a turning point after more than a decade of war.
And on that.
As we've reached that turning point.
We've developed a new defense strategy.
For the 21 century.
We have with John's leadership.
Decimated Al qaeda's leadership.
And we get.
Their effort to attack this country.
We have brought wars in Iraq and we will bring the war in Afghanistan to an honorable conclusion.
We've opened up opportunities for all Americans to serve in our military.
And we continue to strongly support our forces and their families.
And -- wounded warriors.
These are some of the achievements that I am proud.
Let me close by expressing my profound gratitude.
To the outstanding team of military and civilian staff in leaders.
That I've had the honor to serve with at the department of defense and at the White House.
Let me deeply thank the outstanding men and women in uniform who has had the privilege to serve in to lead.
Those who put their lives on the line every day.
On distant battlefields.
For this country.
There are sacrifices.
Teach us that freedom is not free.
The strong democracy depends on a strong defense.
But you can also not have a strong and stable defense.
Without a strong and stable democracy.
As we continue to confront strategic challenges in fiscal -- My hope for the future.
Is that the sense of duty our service members and their families exhibit every day.
Inspires the leaders of this nation.
To have the courage to do what is right.
To achieve the American dream.
To give our children a better life.
And to build a more secure future.
I'm honored by your trust in your confidence in me and not on mindful of the immense responsibilities.
That go with a -- also acknowledge.
My wife -- -- daughter Allen and our sons or.
Who is in Chicago.
Back attending his first day of classes at DePaul University.
And -- my friend Leon Panetta.
Thank you for your extraordinary service to our country.
Over so many years in so many capacities.
You're one of their premier public servants.
Of our time.
To follow you -- the Department of Defense will be -- most challenging task.
But I will try to live up to the standards that you Bob gates and others are set for this job in this nation.
Let me also express my deep appreciation regulations to my friend John Brennan.
And to also acknowledge.
The president's confidence and trust and John Brennan.
Thank you John for your service and what you will continue to do for country the Mike morale who I have.
Gotten in over the years not just.
Serving on the Senate Intelligence Committee but also as the president is noted the privilege.
Co -- the president's intelligence advisory board with former senator Dave Boren.
Thank you for your continued service.
This present I'm grateful for this opportunity to serve our country again.
Especially its men and women in uniform.
And their friends.
These are people who give so much to this nation every day.
With such dignity and selflessness.
This is particularly important.
At a time as we complete our mission in Afghanistan and support the troops and military families.
Who have sacrificed so much.
Over more than a decade a war.
I'm also grateful for an opportunity to help continue to strengthen our country and strengthen our country's alliances.
And advanced global freedom decency.
As we help build a better world for all mankind.
I will always do my best.
Do my best for our country.
Who -- I represented depending on.
And for all our citizens.
President I will always give you my honest and most informed counsel.
Thank you very.
Thank you for your very kind remarks.
And thank you for the trust that you placed in me when you asked me to be acting director.
I'm I have had -- honor of knowing and working with John Brennan for the last twenty years.
We have worked particularly closely.
The last three years.
John Brennan is a intelligence professional.
With a deep experience.
In our business.
-- public servant with extraordinary.
And a man deep.
With senate confirmation -- know that he will be an outstanding.
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
As the president noted John started his career at CIA.
And spent nearly a quarter century.
So this is a homecoming for John.
On behalf of the talented.
And dedicated men and women of CIA.
It is my deep honor to say.
It is indeed a tremendous honor to be nominated to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The women and men of the CIA are among the most dedicated courageous.
Selfless and hard working individuals.
Who have ever served this country.
At great personal risk and sacrifice.
They have made countless invaluable contributions.
Toward national security and the safety and security of all Americans.
Most times the successes will never -- don't outside the hallowed halls of Langley in the Oval Office.
Leading the agency in which I served for 25 years would be the greatest privilege as well as the greatest responsibility.
Of my professional life.
President I want to thank you for your confidence in me.
But even more -- -- confidence confidence and constant support to the CIA.
And to those who served in the intelligence community.
They need and deserve the support of all of their fellow Americans.
Especially at a time of such tremendous national security challenges.
If confirmed as director -- will make it my mission to ensure that the CIA has the tools it needs to keep our nation safe.
And that its work always reflects the liberties the freedoms and the values that we also here.
I'm especially proud to stand here today was such patriots just as Leon Panetta Chuck Hagel and -- -- It was a tremendous honor to serve with Leon over the past four years.
And I very much look forward to the opportunity and privilege to serve with another of America's great patriots took -- And I'm especially proud and touched the of the statutes that are my close friend and colleague Mike and well.
-- epitomizes what it means to be an intelligence professional.
Michael's leadership at the CIA.
As well as his 32 year career.
Has been nothing short of its -- Michael -- very much look forward to working with you in the weeks months and years ahead.
And they also look forward to working with congress.
As a national security rests on the ability of the executive and legislative branches of our government to work as a team.
While the intelligence professional oftentimes demands secrecy.
It is critically important that there be a full and open discourse.
On intelligence matters.
With the appropriate elected representatives of the American people.
Although I consider myself neither a Republican nor a Democrat I very much look forward to working closely with those on both sides of the -- Finally and most importantly.
To my wife -- to my children Kyle Jacqueline Kelly.
To my parents in New Jersey -- shout out.
Owen who is 92 -- mom Dorothy was 91 my brother Tom my sister Kathleen in my Jersey roots.
I could not be where I am today without their love their patience their understanding their support.
And there's no way that I can repay that.
Except to say I think I'm going to need it for a little bit longer.
So again Mr.
President I am deeply grateful for this opportunity.
It will be bittersweet to leave all of my post colleagues and friends here at the White House and the national security staff but come to.
Work with and respect so deeply for the last four years.
But if confirmed by the senate I would consider it to be the honor of my life to -- the 21 director of the central intelligence -- We'll be.
These are four outstanding individuals.
We are grateful to all of them.
I want in particular.
Mike -- And Leon Panetta for their extraordinary service.
And I just want to repeat.
I hope that the senate will act on this confirmations -- and when it comes to national security.
We don't like to leave a lot of gaps.
Between the time that.
One set of leaders transitions another transitions and so we need to get moving quickly on this.
Final point I'll make one of the reasons that I am so confident that Chuck Hagel -- going to be an outstanding secretary of defense and John Brennan is going to be an outstanding.
Director of Central Intelligence Agency.
Is they understand.
We are only successful because of the folks up and down the line.
In these respective institutions.
Group -- folks on the ground.
Who are often times putting their lives at risk for us.
And are often times -- that great removed.
And its politics.
To have those who have been in the field.
Who've been in the heat of battle.
Who understand the consequences of decisions that we make in this town and how it has an impact and ramifications.
For everybody who actually has to execute our national security strategies.
That's something -- -- You provide.
-- the kinds of insights that I need in making very difficult decisions.
But also mean that these folks are going to be looking out for the people who work form.
And and that's something that.
I think in -- leadership positions -- is actually critical so.
I'm -- -- working with these two gentlemen -- going to be outstanding thank you very much --