(CBS/AP)-- In her final remarks as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton said she's confident in the direction that the State Department is headed and urged its employees to demonstrate why the department matters as much as the Pentagon.
"Those of you who are staying... Please know that I hope you will redouble your efforts to do all that you can to demonstrate unequivocally why diplomacy and development are right up there with defense," she said.
Since taking the helm at the State Department in 2009, overseeing its nearly 70,000 employees, Clinton sought to elevate American "civilian power" and make the department a better military partner, in part by launching the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. Clinton today said the review process "enabled us to ask the hard questions."
"State and [the United States Agency for International Development] have to be always be learning organizations," she said. "We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to the president, we owe it to the American people."
Clinton officially submitted her letter of resignation to President Obama today, calling it an honor to serve in his administration and represent the United States around the world. Two days earlier, John Kerry was confirmed in the Senate as her successor.
"I leave this department confident about the direction we have set," Clinton told State Department employees today. "I'm proud of the work we've done to elevate diplomacy and development... to make sure that America is secure, that our interests are promoted and that our values are respected."
While Clinton's remarks were largely positive, she did acknowledge the suicide bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey today that killed the bomber and one other person.
Of course, we live in very complex and even dangerous times, as we saw again just today in our embassy in Ankara," she said. Clinton said she spoke with the U.S. ambassador there, as well as her Turkish counterpart, telling them the U.S. values their commitment and sacrifice.
"I know the world we are trying to help to bring into being in the 21st century will have many difficult days," she said. "But I am more optimistic today than when I stood here four years ago. I have seen day after day the many contributions that our diplomatic and development experts are making."