Chuck Hagel

New Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference regarding the automatic spending cuts, Friday, March 1, 2013.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel took over his current position on February 27th, 2013. Hagel began his political career when he was elected as U.S. Senator from Nebraska in 1997. During his time as a senator, Hagel voted in favor of the Patriot Act, against the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, and against No Child Left Behind. He voted in favor of the resolution to authorize military force in Iraq, but later voiced doubts over the venture. He left the Senate in 2009.

During the Vietnam War, Hagel served in the 9th Infantry Division from 1967 to 1968, reaching the rank of sergeant. He received two Purple Hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He served in the same infantry squad as his brother, and they saved each other's lives on different occasions.

In part due to Hagel's opposition to the Iraq War, his Secretary of Defense nomination was opposed by some of his former Republicans colleagues in the U.S. Senate, such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Some of his remarks about Israel also angered some senators from both sides of the aisle.

As He Exits, Hagel Warns of Limits to Military Power

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel waits for junior enlisted military personnel assigned to the National Capital Region to arrive at his office in order to host a lunch and listen and discuss their concerns at the Pentagon, Jan. 20, 2015. Adrian Cadiz/DoD

WASHINGTON -- As he prepares to hand over the reins of the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is warning that military power has its limits and Americans should avoid believing that force alone can transform conflict-riven societies in the Middle East and elsewhere. "It is easy to drift into other missions, and I do believe that you always... more

Hagel: Afghan Training is Key in War's Final Act

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks during his Dec. 7 visit to American troops at Tactical Base Gamberi in eastern Afghanistan. (Photo: Mark Wilson/AP)

TACTICAL BASE GAMBERI, Afghanistan — It's only a slight stretch to say America's longest war stops here. The several hundred American soldiers on this remote base in Afghanistan's wild east are the vanguard of a transformed U.S. military mission meant to avoid the kind of unraveling of security that happened this year in Iraq and ensure that th... more

Weapons Acquisition Expert Tops Obama's List to Replace Hagel

Ashton Carter. DoD photo by R.D. Ward

Ashton Carter left the No. 2 job at the Pentagon as a known defender of the costly F-35 Joint Strike Fighter who also pushed a new age of armored vehicles onto the battlefield. Now just 363 days after his retirement, Carter is poised to return as the next secretary of defense. While not yet official, Washington was abuzz on Tuesday with re... more

Sources: Hagel Resigning as Defense Secretary

Chuck Hagel

WASHINGTON -- Administration sources say that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is resigning from President Barack Obama's Cabinet. Hagel, a former Republican senator, has served as Pentagon chief since early 2013. Obama is expected to announce the resignation Monday. The official insisted on anonymity because this person was not authorized to dis... more

Hagel: Climate Change Will Challenge US Military

Chuck Hagel

AREQUIPA, Peru — Rising sea levels and other effects of climate change will pose major challenges for America's military, including more and worse natural disasters and the threat that food and water shortages could fuel disputes and instability around the world, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday. Addressing a conference of military lea... more

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