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Secretary of Defense visits Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrives at MCAS New River on Wednesday. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrives at MCAS New River on Wednesday.
School of Infantry training ahead of the arrival of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. School of Infantry training ahead of the arrival of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
School of Infantry training ahead of the arrival of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. School of Infantry training ahead of the arrival of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -

One of the leaders of our nation's military made a visit to the East on Wednesday.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel came to Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River in part to familiarize himself with the military installations in Jacksonville. But he also came to speak frankly about the deep budget cuts to the military.

This was his first visit to the two bases since his Senate confirmation back in February. It's part of a three day tour of military bases in the southeast.

"It's no secret Camp Lejeune is one of the centers of gravity in the United State Marine Corps, and he definitely wanted to come here early on in his tenure," said Pentagon press secretary George Little.

At Marine Corps Air Station New River, Hagel toured the School of Infantry at Camp Geiger, where Marines train for urban combat situations.

His tour includes stops at Pope Army Airfield, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, and Joint Base Charleston.

"He's really on a listening tour to learn about the capabilities of each of the services," said Little.

Part of that listening tour was a meeting with 15 female Marines and veterans. Earlier this year the Pentagon announced it would lift the ban on women in the front lines.

"He wants to hear directly from female Marines about what the rewards are, what the challenges are," said Little.

But Hagel also came to talk about sequestration. Little says the Department of Defense is struggling to find a solution to billions of dollars in military budget cuts.

"We're not looking at a world of fewer threats. We're looking at a world of even greater threats," said Little.

Little says over the long run, these budget cuts could be very harmful to the nation's military readiness.

 

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