Representing: Secretary of Defense Charles T. Hagel
Student ID: 41409
Unclassified paper submitted to the faculty of the National Intelligence University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for MCR 601
October 8, 2013
The views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government. Opening Statement
The conflict in Syria has reached a critical point, and we as a nation must make a decision and agree on decisive action. For the past 2 years, over 100,000 people have been killed in the civil war in Syria, by traditional weaponry and more recently, by use of chemical weapons. The role of the Department of Defense is to support U.S. diplomatic efforts in the region, while ensuring that the U.S. Armed Forces remained prepared to protect U.S. interests and uphold security commitments that we’ve made in the region. There are several options available, including working with the United Nations and members of the U.N. Security Council to facilitate the removal of Assad and his chemical weapons stores, but keeping the threat of military action against the Assad regime on the table is vital to preventing the Syrian government from ordering another chemical weapons strike against the civilian population.1 With the introduction of chemical warfare, a much greater risk is posed to neighboring friendly and partner countries in the region, particularly Israel, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq. If the United States shows weakness towards Syria, or pulls back from its stance on the use of chemical weapons, the Assad regime could feel motivated to carry out more attacks, possibly outside of its immediate border. Any show of weakness would also embolden Syria to begin facilitating trade with local insurgent groups (Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, etc…) that would then use the weapons against U.S. allies in the region. Each witness today has served in uniform to defend this country, and knows the cost of war, and putting troops on the front line. That being said, our country’s future security, global stability, and the safety of our troops is on the line.3 1Chuck Hagel, “Statement on Syria before the Senate Armed Services Committee” (Speech, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., April 17, 2013).
2Chuck Hagel, “Statement on Syria before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee” (Speech, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., September 3, 2013).
3Chuck Hagel, “Statement on Syria before the House Armed Services Committee” (Speech, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., September 10, 2013). “Written” Statement
As Secretary of Defense and by law the head of the Department of Defense4, it is my job to ensure that the Department of Defense and the U.S. Armed Forces are prepared for any circumstance whether offensive or defensive in nature. With that in mind, President Obama has made it clear that degrading Assad’s chemical weapons capability and deterring him from using them again is vital to U.S. national interests. A path has been laid to do so in a manner that would avert military action, however, there remains the very real threat that Syria and Russia are merely stalling for time to remove the rebel opposition. If this becomes more and more the likely scenario unfolding, the threat of military action must be available and on the table, and known as a significant and credible threat. This threat alone may be the key piece that ensures that Syria and Russia continue to follow disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons stores.5
It is in the best interest of the U.S. to ensure the removal and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, as they pose a vital threat to the region should they fall into the hands of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda. Should any of these terrorist groups attack a neighboring country friendly to the U.S., we have commitments to uphold to our partners and allies in the region to respond...
Bibliography: “10 USC § 113 - Secretary of Defense.” Cornell University Law School. October 08, 2013. Accessed October 08, 2013.http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/113.
“U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Meets Israeli Counterpart; Discusses Iran and Syria.” The Economic Times. October 9, 2013. Accessed October 9, 2013. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-10-09/news/42864419_1_chemical-weapons-tehran-nuclear-weapons.
Hagel, Chuck. “Statement on Syria before the House Armed Services Committee.” Speech, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., September 10, 2013.
Hagel, Chuck. “Statement on Syria before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” Lecture, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., September 3, 2013.
Hagel, Chuck. “Statement on Syria before the Senate Armed Services Committee.” Lecture, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., April 17, 2013.
Hagel, Chuck. “Statement on Syria.” Speech, Open Forum, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, April 25, 2013.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document