Panetta Says Goodbye

Panetta Says Goodbye

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta compared his exit from the Pentagon to an Italian opera at what he called his final press conference as the Pentagon’s top man.

The former congressman and CIA director has seen the Senate confirmation of his expected successor, former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., remain in doubt as Republicans planned a filibuster.

Panetta, who has already given farewells to the troops and Defense Department civilians, said he felt as though he were going through the last act of an Italian opera in trying to go home to his walnut farm in Monterey, Calif.


“You’re not sure when it will end and when the fat lady will sing,” Panetta said while expressing confidence that Hagel would get Senate approval by the end of this week.

In one of his final acts, Panetta phoned South Korean Minister of Defense Kim Kwan-Jin on the “highly provocative” nuclear test carried out by North Korea last weekend and renewed the U.S. pledge to defend the South against aggression from Pyongyang.

“There is no question North Korea constitutes a threat to the U.S.,” Panetta said. “Make no mistake, the U.S. military is prepared to take all necessary steps” to repel attacks from the North, Panetta said.

Panetta said it was as yet unclear whether the underground nuclear explosion in the North was of a plutonium or uranium-based device, and he also could not verify North Korean claims that the test was successful in miniaturizing the weapon for possible use on the warhead of a missile.

In response, Panetta said the U.S. would “increase our missile defenses to deal with the threat” and coordinate more closely with the South Koreans and the Japanese on joint defense.

On Afghanistan, Panetta said the U.S. remains on track to reach its goal in Afghanistan as 34,000 troops are set to come home over the next year.

“We will prevail” in the ultimate goal of leaving behind an Afghanistan that will never again be a safe haven for Al Qaeda, Panetta said.

As for regrets, Panetta said his main one was his inability to break the partisan gridlock in Congress that has brought on the threat of “sequester” on March 1, which could result in more than $500 billion in cuts for defense over the next 10 years on top of $487 billion already underway.

“The greatest concern I have for national security is the budget uncertainty,” Panetta said. The political divide in Congress has reached the point where “it becomes too personal, it becomes too mean,” Panetta said. “What you see on display is too much meanness. We’ve got to get back to the point where we really respect the institution” of Congress, he said.

Panetta also reflected on the raid by Seal Team 6 in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011, that killed Osama Bin Laden, an attack which took place on Panetta’s watch as CIA director. Panetta said it was never a sure thing that Bin Laden was in the Abbottabad compound, despite the impression that may have been left by the current movie “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Even as the helicopters carrying the SEALs lifted off, “we never had 100 percent confidence it was Bin Laden that was located there,” Panetta said. “There were a lot of questions and concerns about whether to do this.”

But the raid was approved for the chance to eliminate the threat that Bin Laden still posed, although there were also doubts about the operational control he still exercised over Al Qaeda from Abbottabad, Panetta said. “He remained the inspirational leader, and that continued to make him dangerous,” Panetta said.

Panetta said he signed off on the raid because of his faith in the SEALs.

“What made me confident we would succeed was confidence, tremendous confidence, in their ability to get the job done,” Panetta said.

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Thank-you for your service, Sir!…and make sure your walnut farm is ORGANIC, OK…???…thanks…enjoy your retirement…I think we have enough talking heads on the news!…

Thanks for that one last parting shot you political hack… now a Bronze Star with valor is somehow less important than today’s “cyber-warriors”. You weren’t all that good… but you certainly weren’t the worst SecDef, I guess that’s the best you could hope for.

See ya loser. He helped make this problem worse trim the Army budget get the USAF and Navy inline nope, pet spending projects for everyone good riddance hes going.

SECDEFs have to be judged over the long term. When Panetta came in, the DoD had been committed by his predecessors to an absolutely disastrous long term course with a series of lousy decisions.

Naval shipbuilding had been redirected from building stout warships with combat specifications to building fragile LCSes with commercial specifications. The number of deployable hulls was on a steady downtrend to an ineffectual “hollow Navy”.

Military aviation in three services had all been bet with no fallback plan on the F-35 program, a program whose inherent flaws were already clearly apparent at Panetta’s arrival. And those flaws in the F-35 only become more glaring and undeniable on his watch.

The culture of the services had been changed from fighting and winning wars to soft-edged, feelgood ideological initiatives. We actually had a CNO tell Congress that his top priority was “diversity”, instead of his top priority being to accomplish the naval mission at minimum cost in American life.

Panetta did nothing about any of this dry rot.

Instead, he made it worse. With such things as his loopy last minute idea of relaxing physical qualifications for infantry and spec ops so that women will be able to get into those units. (Never mind that they won’t be able to handle the job once in.)

The country has now endured an unbroken decade-plus string of some of the worst Secretaries of Defense in its history.

Robert McNamara was crummy, but at least he was preceded and followed by competent individuals.

Whereas it’s been a virtually unbroken string of losers since the hapless Les Aspin was stuffed into the position in the 1990s, and it’s only gotten worse since then. Panetta didn’t turn things around, and the prospect of Hagel in the top job at Defense should chill any responsibly minded citizen.

At some point, all of this long accumulation of poor policies and inept SECDEFs will have serious national consequences for the United States.

One of Panetta’s last acts was to approve the “Distinguished Warfare Medal” also being called “The Gamer Medal”. It recognizes “extraordinary achievement, not involving acts of valor in combat, directly impacting combat operations of other military operations.” Think drones. The DWM ranks below the Distinguished Flying Cross, but above the Bronze Star w/V. There is no geographic limitation on the medal, and the domain for the award includes air, land, maritime, space and cyberspace. http://​soldiersystems​.net/​2​0​1​3​/​0​2​/​1​3​/​t​h​e​-​d​i​s​t​i​ngu

This is not a duffleblog or onion story.

Thank Leon. CYA not soon enough.

“This is not a duffleblog or onion story.”

Although those who thought it was can certainly be forgiven for having thought so.

Satire truly is dead. Consistently outdone by our current sad reality.

He made more decisions as a “lame duck” (and lousy one’s at that) than he did the rest of his time at the pentagon. I hope he got plenty of nice gifts, from all of the countries he visited on his lame duck tour. I believe that he is NOT entitled to keep them. I know that us lowly GI’s were never allowed to keep gifts. YOU WILL NOT BE MISSED!

Hilary Clinton was a reason for his decision on women in Combat? This guy is really out of touch with the realities of the military. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. You political hack. Maybe the Dems can score more Female votes. Now this medal for drones??? What the hell is wrong with this people?

He seemed like a good enough individual to me, but used as nothing more than a tool of those currently in power. Will he be missed? Depends on how bad/good the next guy is.

This morning on the news they stated he is staying till this thing with Hagel is firm or move on ready

One of the better recent sec defs. Although the “Afar medal” should not be nearly as high ranking as he made it. Should def not be above a bronze star.

Good riddance!!!

Seems to me he was an improvement over his predecessor.

Wow sorry men truly sorry! I didn’t realize that Panetta had gone and lowered the physical requirements in order to get women into some of the jobs. I didn’t mind the idea as long as the standard requirements were the same for women as for men. This should not be execrable . & to you women out there if you cannot uphold your end please by almeans do not go into these new jobs. & by the way, I am a female Sgt. & know to well what happens when women get themselves into a field that their not able to do. It Causes Nothing BUT PROBLEMS FOR EVERYONE!

Good to let him go, but he may turn out to be better than his replacement, we’ll see if our country lasts that long.

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