Outgoing US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gives a farewell address to the Pentagon community at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on February 12, 2013. North Korea is a 'serious threat' to the US and Washington must be prepared to deal with it, Panetta warned Tuesday after Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test. Panetta's comments came after North Korea announced it had tested a 'miniaturized' device in its third nuclear test. US intelligence confirmed that North Korea probably conducted an underground nuclear explosion with a yield of several kilotons. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad
Credit: JEWEL SAMAD
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta holds a news conference at the end of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defense Ministers Meetings at NATO headquarters February 22, 2013 in Brussels, Belgium. Panetta is attended meetings and holding bilateral meetings with other NATO defense officials.
Credit: Chip Somodevilla
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta walks across the tarmac as he transfers planes from a C-17 military aircraft to his Boeing E4-B prior to departing from Don Mueang International Airport, en route to San Francisco, California on November 16, 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand. Panetta attended a meeting retreat of 10 southeast Asian defense ministers in Cambodia, as part of an Asian tour ahead of US President Barack Obama's impending visit to the region. .
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jokes with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta after being presented the Department of Defense's highest award for public service at the Pentagon February 14, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. Secretary Clinton recently retired from public service.
Credit: Win McNamee
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta testifies before the House Committee on Armed Services on Capitol Hill on October 13, 2011 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on the future of national defense ten years after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Credit: Brendan Hoffman
President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (L) during an Armed Service farewell ceremony for Sec. Panetta at Joint Base Ft. Myer, on February 8, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) will replace Panetta as Defense Secretary.
Credit: Mark Wilson
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai meet shortly before having dinner together inside the President's palace July 9, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan. During a surprise visit to Afghanistan and his first as Defense Secretary, Panetta declared that the United States is 'within reach' of 'strategically defeating' Al Qaeda as a terrorist threat.