Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel certainly has not been shy about disrupting the status quo since he took over from Leon Panetta in February. In his first major speech since he assumed the position, Hagel called for a significant review of Department of Defense (DOD) policies, ranging from the balance between active and reserve components to the size and functionality of the budget. The words could have a far reaching impact at a time when the Pentagon is transitioning out of Afghanistan and grappling with cuts due to sequestration.

A change of course
Hagel's remarks, which were given before both military officials and civilians at National Defense University, show a shift in tone compared to Panetta. Specifically, Panetta steadfastly opposed any more significant cuts to Defense spending, but Hagel says it's something the military has to do. In fact, he suggested that paring down expenses could eventually make the Armed Forces more streamlined and adaptable.

We cannot simply wish or hope our way to carrying out a responsible national security strategy and its implementation," he told those in attendance. "The department must understand the challenges and uncertainties, plan for the risks, and, yes, recognize the opportunities inherent in budget constraints and more efficient and effective restructuring."

Hagel's history
Although this was Hagel's first major address, his desire to review every aspect of the DOD should not come as much of surprise given his actions thus far during his short tenure as Defense Secretary. For instance, in March the DOD ordered a review of the Pentagon's hundreds of suicide prevention strategies. While Hagel did not specifically mention the potential for troop reductions, some experts say that could be one of the plans for lowering costs.

While no official announcements have been made as to troop cuts, some analysts expect the Army to lower its number of active duty and reserve troops by about 100,000, according to The Washington Times. Furthermore, the Army may have to cut about 40 percent of its Brigade Combat Teams.

Changes abound
While Hagel's review may cause some changes, the military is in the midst of some other substantial shifts as well. Earlier this year, combat roles opened up to female troops for the first time and the Pentagon may soon be able to extend benefits to same-sex couples depending on the upcoming Supreme Court rulings.