Sec. Hagel talks cyber threats, Iran, Syria, sequester during Omaha speech

Jun 20, 2013

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says cyber attacks are a growing threat to U.S. interests.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
Credit Images

Hagel spoke Wednesday at UNO. It was his first speech in Nebraska since being named Defense Secretary last February.  Hagel, who served two terms as a U.S. Senator, is a 1971 graduate of UNO and a Vietnam War veteran.

He says the military must prioritize and focus on what Hagel says is a threat to the U.S. economy and infrastructure. "Adding to the complexities of cyberspace is the challenge of identifying where a cyberattack is coming from, or who initiated it. Attribution is not impossible, but it is not as simple as identifying a Navy sailing across the ocean or an Army crossing the border to attack. This is a fundamentally different, more insidious threat than we’ve ever seen."

Sec. Hagel says preventing and responding to cyber threats requires new thinking. "Responding to new threats, new challenges, and new opportunities will require us to undertake major adjustments in our strategic thinking and planning. This will require seriously questioning past frames of reference as we prioritize our national interests and we prepare our country for the future."

Hagel also talked about the adjustments needed in light of the sequester. The ten-percent across-the-board federal spending cuts reduced the Defense Department budget by an additional $37 billion this fiscal year. Secretary Hagel says he and his staff are reviewing options and opportunities for efficiencies.

Hagel is scheduled to speak Thursday morning at U.S. Strategic Command.