U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in conversation with Kevin Baron, Executive Editor, Defense One
Kevin Baron is executive editor of Defense One. A 15-year veteran of Washington’s defense, national security and foreign affairs scene, Baron has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and politics for Foreign Policy, National Journal, Stars and Stripes, the Boston Globe’s Washington bureau, and the Center for Public Integrity. Baron is vice president of the Pentagon Press Association.
Chuck Hagel was sworn in as the 24th Secretary of Defense on February 27, 2013 becoming the first enlisted combat veteran to lead the Department of Defense.
Secretary Hagel was born on October 4, 1946 in North Platte, Nebraska, the eldest of four brothers. He joined the United States Army and volunteered to go to Vietnam, rising to the rank of Sergeant and serving as an infantry squad leader alongside his brother, Tom, with the Army’s 9th Infantry Division in 1968. He earned numerous military decorations and honors, including two Purple Hearts.
Following his tour in Vietnam, Secretary Hagel graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha using the G.I. Bill. Continuing his commitment to public service, Secretary Hagel became Chief of Staff to Nebraska Congressman John Y. McCollister.