ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — President Barack Obama says retiring Defense Secretary Leon Panetta helped strengthen the military during his relatively brief tenure.

At a farewell ceremony Friday, Obama noted that Panetta oversaw the repeal of a ban on gays serving openly in the military and opened combat roles to women.

Panetta was setd to retire as CIA director in the spring of 2011 when Obama asked him to run the Pentagon.

The 74-year-old Panetta is leaving Washington after more than four decades, including as a congressman, federal budget director, White House chief of staff and CIA director who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

Panetta has said he will remain on the job until the Senate confirms a successor.

Obama nominated former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican, to succeed Panetta.

(2) comments

txmarineinfantry

Panetta is a tool, life long politician. He receives a sweet retirement and the military will not get a full pay raise. Only in America.

Eliza

I'm sorry but I can't show the same respect for Panetta's "service to the country ' that Obama says he has,
especially not after seeing him testify before the senate about the murders of the 4 Americans in Benghazi,one who was left to hang for hours who must have wondered during all that time,why he was being deserted.

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