Low-key Hagel in a high-key world

Media playback is unsupported on your device
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.

More on this story