MILITARY

Hagel on farewell tour as defense secretary to thank troops, visit bases

  • FILE - In this Dec. 4, 2014 file photo, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks at the Pentagon. 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. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 4, 2014 file photo, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks at the Pentagon. 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. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 4, 2014 file photo, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks at the Pentagon. Hagel is opening a farewell tour to thank troops for their service as he prepares to turn over his duties to Ashton Carter, who is expected to be confirmed by the Senate sometime in February. Hagel arrived Tuesday at Whiteman Air Force Base in western Missouri to speak with B-2 stealth bomber crews. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 4, 2014 file photo, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks at the Pentagon. Hagel is opening a farewell tour to thank troops for their service as he prepares to turn over his duties to Ashton Carter, who is expected to be confirmed by the Senate sometime in February. Hagel arrived Tuesday at Whiteman Air Force Base in western Missouri to speak with B-2 stealth bomber crews. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)  (The Associated Press)

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.