Today, I was honored to take the oath of office to become the 23rd Secretary of Defense. I am mindful of the great responsibility the President has entrusted to me, and I will work with you - America's men and women in uniform and this Department's civilian employees - as I lead the Department of Defense in its mission to protect our citizens and our nation's interests around the world. My long career in public service began in the 1960s when I proudly donned the uniform of this country as a young Army intelligence officer. In the decades since, my respect for the military has only grown stronger.
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