Hagel says nuclear responsibilities have drifted

ARLINGTON, VA - JULY 03:  Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey (R) brief members of the media July 3, 2014 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Secretary Hagel and General Dempsey discussed various topics including the current situations in Iraq.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (Alex Wong, 2014 Getty Images)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, seen here at a recent press conference, told submariners at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay that more attention must be paid to the nuclear forces as key to national security. (Alex Wong, 2014 Getty Images)
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Updated: 7/09 4:59 pm

KINGS BAY, Georgia (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is telling naval submariners that the U.S. has let its focus on the military's nuclear responsibilities drift a bit, but two reviews are wrapping up and he will be looking at recommendations to strengthen the health of the force.

Speaking at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Hagel says more attention must be paid to the nuclear forces as key to national security.

Hagel has ordered two reviews of the nation's nuclear forces, to find causes for leadership lapses and other problems revealed by a series of Associated Press reports, including security breaches, cheating and other systemic gaps within the force.

Hagel also says the Pentagon is still committed to replacing aging submarines. He said the steep budget cuts are making it difficult to meet spending priorities.


©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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