Hagel took the oath of office in a private ceremony. His wife, Lilibet, held the Bible on which Hagel placed his hand. The oath was administered by Pentagon Director of Administration and Management Michael L. Rhodes.
The new Pentagon chief is due to address military and civilian personnel at 10:30 a.m. ET. We’ll monitor his remarks and update with any news.
Hagel replaces Leon Panetta, who is among several cabinet members who decided to retire at the start of President Obama’s second term.
Update at 11:20 a.m. ET. Hagel’s Message:
“Newly minted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is vowing to continue to build strong relations around world and engage with allies,” The Associated Press reports. And it adds that “Hagel is telling the Pentagon workforce that he is committed to ensuring that the troops and department civilians are treated fairly and equally.”