Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is opening a farewell tour to thank troops for their service as he prepares to turn over his duties to his designated successor, Ashton Carter.

Hagel arrived Tuesday at Whiteman Air Force Base in western Missouri to speak with B-2 stealth bomber crews.

He was expected to express administration support for building a next-generation bomber within the next decade. The new bomber would be capable of nuclear as well as conventional strike missions.

Hagel also plans to visit a Marine base in California this week. He'll fly aboard a new Navy aircraft carrier off the coast of California, and see enlisted soldiers at an Army base in Texas.