"Defense Innovation Days" Opening Keynote (Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance)

By Hagel, Chuck | U.S. Department of Defense Speeches, September 3, 2014 | Go to article overview

"Defense Innovation Days" Opening Keynote (Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance)


Hagel, Chuck, U.S. Department of Defense Speeches


As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Newport, Rhode Island, Wednesday, September 03, 2014

[Senator] Jack [Reed], thank you. As Jack noted, we came over to the Senate together, 1996, served on the Banking Committee together for 12 years. My first trip to Rhode Island was with Senator Reed. We held a field hearing in Providence on housing issues, and then he treated me to some of the Italian cuisine in the state. And I couldn't have had a better bridge into, or introduction to, the state, the people, the cuisine, the fiber, the character of this state than with Jack Reed.

I think this man embodies exactly what's best about our country--his selflessness, his courage, and how he comes at problem solving, how he represents people. You all know he's a West Point graduate; he himself served in the military for many years after he graduated from West Point. So Jack, for your continued leadership and support, and I think as was noted here a few minutes ago, he is truly one of the preeminent voices in our country on national security and will continue to be a hugely important voice as we deal with some of these great new challenges ahead.

And some of these I will talk about here in my remarks this afternoon, because, as Tom said and others, this is really about innovation, these three days, and everything you all have done and everything you represent, to build on the past, build on to what has been done already, and it is historic, the accomplishments. So Jack, thank you.

To my friend Governor Chafee, Linc, thank you. As Linc noted, we served together, the three of us at the same time in the Senate. Linc and I sat next to each other on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for many years. I always admired Linc's ability to be able to cut through much of the fog, and often ask the questions that no one else would ask, and get to the real essence of a hearing. I've always admired that about Linc Chafee, among other things, so Linc, it's good to be back with you again. Thanks for your continued service to our country.

Sheldon Whitehouse and I served together on the Intelligence Committee for a couple years, and not often does a freshman member of the United States Senate get assigned to the Select Committee on Intelligence. I was probably an accident, an aberration, but Sheldon Whitehouse was not. And the leadership in the Senate knew exactly what they were doing when they asked Senator Whitehouse to serve on the Intelligence Committee in his first term, and [he] continues to make critically important contributions to our country on that committee. And good to see you again Sheldon. Mrs. Whitehouse, nice to see you, and thanks for everything you do and continue to do for our country.

To your two Congressmen--one who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Langevin--thank you for what you do, and continue to do. We are grateful. I always appreciate your questions. They are to the point and cogent. Sometimes they put us in a delicate spot to try to answer them, but that's your job, and I do very much appreciate your service on the Armed Services Committee. Congressman Cicilline, thank you for your good work, and what you do. And I know that [y]our delegation--this delegation representing Rhode Island--is as effective in the business of national security as any delegation in Washington.

To Madam President, thank you for allowing me along with the governor and the speakers to come to your state. I'll be out before sundown. I promise. And to the other elected officials here, for your service and what you do, and also to our industry leaders--Jack said it, Tom said it, others--the industrial base is critical, and it has always been critical to not just the technological edge and advantage that it gives us, and these men and women that Jack Reed talked about who are in the end what is most important for all of us. And it is the soldier and the Marine and the airman and the midshipman and the Coast Guardsman that we rely on--those men and women every day who make those sacrifices. …

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