MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., July 18, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel highlighted the value of special operations forces during a visit with Marines at the Stone Bay facility here yesterday.
The secretary told Marines and sailors of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command that MARSOC’s strength lies in its seasoned Marines who are capable of dealing with developing situations in a complex operational environment.
“Special operations are going to continue to be a critical, critical component of our national security,” Hagel said. “I see a tremendous future. We can learn a lot from what special operations does. It’s going to be a main piece of our national defense strategy.”
Defense Department officials said the purpose of Hagel’s visit was to candidly engage with Marines and sailors here on military budget cut impacts and to gain understanding of how MARSOC plans to posture an enabled Marine Special Operations Company for current and future operations.
In meeting with service members here, the secretary expressed his appreciation to them and their families for their continued sacrifice.
“I understand that I’m the first secretary of defense to visit MARSOC, and let me just say thank you,” he said. “I try to come out to better understand my job so that I can better support you.”
Hagel also stressed that current budget realities in a dangerous world require the Defense Department to learn to do more with less.
“The last 10 or 12 years, the defense budget has been unchallenged, and those days are over,” he said. “We have to be more agile and flexible.”