WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was sworn in on Wednesday as the new Pentagon chief.
In remarks to Defense Department employees, he deplored the uncertainty brought about by impending automatic cuts to the defense budget, and promised to do everything in his power to meet those challenges.
Hagel started his day attending a private swearing-in ceremony at the Pentagon as the 24th secretary of defense, and was sworn in by Director of Administration and Management Michael Rhodes. Family members and his immediate office staff attended the ceremony.
According to the Pentagon, Hagel then hosted the daily senior staff update meeting attended by civilian and military leaders of the department.
After the staff meeting, Hagel made a speech to service members and civilian Defense Department employees, touching upon the possible automatic budget cuts mandated by the impending sequestration, which would go into effect next month should Congress fail to stop it in two days.
Citing budget and sequestration woes as "the reality" the department needs to "deal with", Hagel promised to do "everything in my power to be the kind of leader you expect and deserve," and meet those challenges.
In the afternoon, Hagel will meet with service secretaries and attend meetings at the White House.