Yahoo News asked military service members, veterans and military families to react to the nomination of Chuck Hagel to the defense secretary post and what changes they'd like to see at the department. Here's one perspective.
COMMENTARY | I've served in the military twice in my life. The first time was under Ronald Reagan from 1984 to 1987. I joined the Texas Army National Guard in 1997 and attended Officer Candidate School. In July 2004, I received activation orders and spent all of 2005 at Al Taqaddum Airbase in Iraq. I returned home a captain.
Upon returning home, I resigned my commission. I felt then, as I do now, that the Iraq War was unjust and unnecessary.
If former Sen. Chuck Hagel is confirmed as secretary of defense, I'd like to see America's defense policy reflect a commitment to justifiable war principles. That doesn't mean we'd drag our feet in defending ourselves when necessary. Nor does it mean that we'd forgo necessary precautions on national security issues. It does mean that we'd take seriously our responsibility as a world leader to let justice, not pride, be our guide.
This policy should be reflected in our national priorities. A leaner military would be more adaptive to the present war on terror. The behemoth created to fight the Cold War is outdated. Many overseas bases are no longer necessary and should be shut down.
America came to greatness on the back of a non-interventionist foreign policy. Nation-building must come to an end as we redirect our focus to conserving force for when it is necessary, not when it is convenient. Our drone program is a dangerous precedent that makes it nearly impossible to mitigate civilian casualties.
Hagel should use his position to impress upon the commander-in-chief that his first duty is to guard the safety of our troops and to defend the Constitution. There should never be another war without congressional approval and a clear sign that war is inevitable.