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Hagel takes office as 24th SecDef

Chuck Hagel is sworn into office as the 24th defense secretary by Michael L. Rhodes, the Defense Department's director of administration and management, as Hagel's wife, Lilibet, holds a Bible at the Pentagon, Feb. 27, 2013. (DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)

Chuck Hagel is sworn into office as the 24th defense secretary by Michael L. Rhodes, the Defense Department's director of administration and management, as Hagel's wife, Lilibet, holds a Bible at the Pentagon, Feb. 27, 2013. (DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)

WASHINGTON (AFPS) -- Just before his private swearing-in ceremony as the 24th secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel and his wife, Lilibet, arrived at the Pentagon this morning and were greeted by Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, military assistant to the secretary of defense.

Hagel said hello to waiting members of the Pentagon press corps as he hurried up the steps of the Pentagon's river entrance. From there, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little and other defense officials accompanied him into the building.

Family members and his immediate office staff attended the ceremony, during which Hagel was sworn in by Director of Administration and Management Michael L. Rhodes.
Hagel then hosted the daily senior staff update meeting attended by DOD civilian and military leaders.

In a statement released after Hagel's Senate confirmation yesterday, Feb. 26, Little said the new secretary received congratulatory phone calls from his predecessor, Leon E. Panetta, congressional leaders, and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki.

In his conversation with Secretary Shinseki, Little added, Hagel "indicated his desire to meet as soon as possible to continue and deepen the strong partnership between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs on common priorities for serving our troops, veterans and military families."