Omaha Public Radio News
3:26 pm
Fri August 5, 2011

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visits Offutt Air Force Base

Bellevue, NE – Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says real terror threats remain throughout the world.

Panetta spoke Friday at Offutt Air Force Base to service members from all four military branches. It's his first visit to Offutt, the home of US Strategic Command, since becoming Secretary of Defense in July.

Panetta says STRATCOM plays a vital role in national security. "The command gave me some very important briefings, as I told them, the briefings were tremendously reassuring and at the same time they scare you, because you recognize the threats that are out there and the responsibilities that we all have to make sure that we confront those threats."

He says the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are critical to securing the US. Panetta says in addition to a continued threat from Al-Qaeda, there's also the risk of a cyber attack and a growing threat from rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea.

Panetta was CIA Director for two years before his appointment as Secretary of Defense.