Hagel will address members of the Business Roundtable on Wednesday
afternoon, filling in for Vice President Joe Biden who was
originally scheduled to speak to the group but is traveling, said
Rear Admiral John Kirby, a top Pentagon spokesman.
Kirby said Hagel will discuss the Defense Department's $496 billion
budget proposal for the 2015 fiscal year and the strategy underlying
the plan. He will also make a pitch to the chief executives to hire
more military veterans.
Asked whether Hagel would address the subject of rising tensions
with Russia following its attempt to annex the Crimean region of
Ukraine, Kirby said the defense secretary expected the issue to be
"No doubt in the context of the discussion, current events will come
up," he said.
The business group's chief executives are in Washington for a
quarterly meeting which is closed to the public and the press,
spokeswoman Tita Freeman said, without providing other details.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman is also scheduled to
address the group on Wednesday, according to his office.
[to top of second column]
The Washington-based Business Roundtable is an association of chief
executives of major U.S. corporations, founded in 1972. Its members
include executives from companies with global footprints, from the
defense industry and consumer manufacturers to the healthcare and
(Reporting by David Alexander; additional reporting by Susan Heavey
and Krista Hughes; editing by Bernadette Baum)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.