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He's brought his affable personality and infectious, shoulder shaking laugh to the diplomatic front. Meetings with Middle East leaders sometimes started with a bear hug, or ended in an invitation to go for drinks.
from returning to its bases in Afghanistan.
Sometime next month, Panetta will leave the Pentagon, finally returning home to his beloved walnut farm in Carmel, Calif. In the farewell ceremony on board his military plane, the son of Italy thanked his staff for working to protect America, saying he believes they made the world safer.
Panetta's Pentagon tour saw its share of controversy in the military, with prostitution scandals, spikes in sexual assaults and suicides, and ethical lapses by a handful of senior military leaders. His tenure was much shorter and not nearly as tumultuous as those of his two predecessors, Gates and Donald H. Rumsfeld. The Pentagon agenda had largely been set before Panetta replaced Gates, and the administration saw no need for a major course correction.
After 19 months at the helm of the world's largest military, Panetta may go down in history as the CIA director who got Osama bin Laden. But his time in the Pentagon came at a critical moment dominated by the nation's fiscal crisis and an endless struggle to protect the defense budget from billions of dollars in Soccer Boots 2018
His more genial style was underscored as he gave one of his final policy speeches at King's College in London. to carry the brunt of military responsibilities and said the alliance faced a "dim, if not dismal future." Panetta, instead, used his swansong to gently prod allies to be more flexible and creative and to not let budget constraints prevent them from facing security challenges that come up.
And as he returned to his family's ancestral homeland during his final trip for meetings with leaders there, Panetta the self described son of Italy delivered the first few sentences in Italian.
The budget battle has eaten up much of his time, even as he oversaw the military's final, formal days in Iraq, the start of the last drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, and the end of the successful NATO campaign to end Moammar Gadhafi's reign in Libya.
Panetta's tenure marked
Panetta insists that al Qaida's leadership has been decimated. But he acknowledges the fight is far from over and victory not yet in reach. In fact, he spent much of his last trip dealing with the hostage crisis in Algeria, where Islamic militants linked to al Qaida attacked a natural gas complex in the middle of the Sahara desert.
During speeches in the last week, as he set the table for his legacy, Panetta talked repeatedly of the war on al Qaida. The man behind the raid that killed bin Laden wants to ensure that the targeting continues, and that it blocks the terror network from gaining footholds in North Africa, Somalia and Yemen, and Nike Soccer Cleats Ronaldo
Lawmakers "just got to suck it up and take on some of the risks," Panetta told soldiers at a stop in Vincenza, Italy, during the trip. He said he tells lawmakers, "I've got men and women in uniform that put their lives on the line in order to fight for this country you can have a small bit of the courage they have to do what you have to do."
investments in drones, he expanded their use to target the al Qaida affiliates around the world. officials to talk openly about the CIA's use of killer drones long a taboo subject.
And while the fiscal debate still rages on, those who worked with him on the Pentagon's E Ring say he was often effective in his dealings with Congress because he was comfortable on Capitol Hill and he spoke the language.
automatic spending cuts that he has repeatedly likened to a meat ax.
However, Panetta drew from his two years as CIA chief to escalate the use of drones for both counterterrorism strikes and intelligence gathering. While he profited from Gates' campaign to dramatically increase Nike Football Cleats White
Panetta's personal style also drove his daily interactions. Unlike former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who read voraciously and could never have too many details, Panetta is a people person. He wants to see one or two pages of talking points and then sit down, face to face, to Football Boots Sock Laceless talk things through.
For President Barack Obama, Panetta's experience as a congressman and as budget director in the Clinton administration made him the perfect choice to take on Capitol Hill as the fiscal cliff loomed. So for the last year and a half, Panetta has cajoled, convinced and at times castigated lawmakers in his effort to protect the defense budget.
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