Low-key Hagel in a high-key world

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Media captionChuck Hagel spoke at length to the BBC's Katty Kay in June 2014

If Chuck Hagel's time as secretary of defence is being described as low key - the events he has overseen as head of the US military have been anything but.

When I interviewed him in Romania earlier this year, the threat of Russia destabilising Europe felt real and pressing.

We met on board a US warship which had been dispatched to the Black Sea as a direct sign of US interest in the region.

Few people then thought the summer would bring another urgent crisis in the form of Islamic State. I don't think our interview even touched on Iraq.

But in the past few months, Mr Hagel has been in charge of coordinating America's military re-entry into the region.

It is true that Mr Hagel's tenure - which began with disastrous confirmation hearings - has not been seen as stellar.

But no US defence secretary can ever be described as low key or inconsequential - particularly in a world with as many dangerous problems as ours.

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