Hagel hosted a ceremony for Christine Wormuth as the undersecretary of defense for policy, Jessica Wright as undersecretary for personnel and readiness, Michael McCord as Defense Department comptroller, and Jamie Morin as the director of cost assessment and program evaluation.
Hagel noted that calling the event a "welcoming" ceremony is a bit of a misnomer, as all four have been in the Pentagon for years. Wright, for example, has been serving as acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness for 20 months. Her nomination was hung up in the Senate.
All four have assumed new roles and responsibilities that are among the highest and most challenging in the United States government, Hagel said.
"The Department of Defense is ... undergoing a great transition," the secretary said. "We are seeing a world in transformation, a world that is probably building a new world order."
How this evolves depends in large part on American leadership, he said, adding that DoD is integral to peace and security as this new order evolves.
"To successfully navigate this time of uncertainty, we all must completely stay focused on building ... a ready, agile, capable, modern force to defend against the full spectrum of threats and challenges that we face today and into the future," Hagel said. "We will do that by investing in three pillars of our military: our people, our capabilities and our partnerships."
Wormuth will help nurture the relationships the United States has with military allies and develop relations with new partners. McCord will provide the leadership on the financial side and will ensure new, affordable capabilities keep coming into the department. Wright will ensure DoD has the right mix of people, in the right positions, at the right time, the secretary said.
"DoD must meet the challenges, and probably as important as meeting the challenges is to seize the opportunities and not squander the opportunities," Hagel said. "Sometimes those opportunities are hard to discern when we are faced with as many challenges as we are today. At this complicated and ... dangerous time in the world, we need leaders who are steady, who are engaged, experienced, and forward-thinking."
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