Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had simple advice for the next president during a panel on Jan. 11: “Listen.”
Hagel gave the advice during a panel alongside three other former defense secretaries, as they were asked for recommendations for the incoming president on relations between the U.S. and China, The Hill reports.
“One word?” Hagel said in response to the request for recommendations, according to The Hill: “Listen.”
Hagel, President Barack Obama’s third defense secretary, gave the same advice in regards to the military.
“I would say as someone who has walked on both sides of the street, the political side and the administration side, politicians have to listen more to our military,” he said.
“And I don’t mean changing the Constitution," he added. "I mean listen to our military. They get it better than most politicians on things like this. And some of the finest statesmen I’ve ever met in my life are in military uniform.”
Hagel also criticized the situation in Iraq, expressing disappointment with the events that followed President George W. Bush signing a Status of Forces Agreement with the country in 2008.
“We couldn’t run that government, we should have never tried, couldn’t impose our values,” he said, according to Defense News. “But I think the Iraqi leadership of that country so squandered five years, that allowed to happen what happened over the last two years.”