This morning, Bob Work was sworn in as deputy secretary of defense. As I leave this department, I do so knowing you are in great hands with Secretary Work as your deputy secretary. But I also wanted to let you know what an honor and privilege it has been to serve Secretary Hagel and each of you as acting deputy secretary of defense.
You have all been through extremely trying times over the last few years-sequestration, furloughs, a government shutdown-all the while continuing to fight a war in Afghanistan and respond to crises globally. As is always the case for this department, you have handled all of these challenges with professionalism and a "can do" spirit - qualities that make you great.
I am proud that we were able to work together as a department to give Secretary Hagel detailed ammunition to fight sequestration and to offer a budget that better meets our needs. I am also proud of having been able to play a small part in Secretary Hagel's many efforts to ensure that all of our people are treated fairly, appropriately, and with respect.
My most treasured memories of my time as acting deputy secretary are the times I spent with you. Whether at a meeting with our great career civilians in the Pentagon, a visit to a command where I had the chance to meet our incredible service men and women, or a chance to visit with our inspirational wounded warriors and their families, the time I spent with you has been a meaningful and poignant reminder that deputy secretaries are here to support you-enable you-to do your incredibly demanding and difficult jobs.
I am deeply proud and honored to have had this opportunity to serve you and to serve our Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
You epitomize what is great about our nation. I admire each and every one of you for your dedication and your sacrifice. You are the best of the best and you make our nation strong. And you will always be in my heart.