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.
Associated Press | Feb 27, 2013
WASHINGTON - Chuck Hagel was sworn in Wednesday as defense secretary - President Barack Obama's third in just over four years - and said that one of his highest priorities will be ensuring fair treatment of troops, veterans and their families. He called the automatic budget cuts due to take effect on Friday - to include $46 billion in Pentagon ... more
Military.com | Feb 26, 2013
The Senate has confirmed former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., as the successor to Leon Panetta as defense secretary following a contentious battle between Senate Republicans and Democrats over the president's nomination. Senators voted on Hagel's nomination at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday after a week-long delay referred to as a filibuster. Republicans led by... more
Associated Press | Feb 11, 2013
WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee pushed ahead Monday with plans for a vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination to be defense secretary despite Republican demands for more financial information from President Barack Obama's choice. Sen. Carl Levin said in a statement that the committee will vote on Tuesday afternoon on Ha... more
UPI | Jan 10, 2013
WASHINGTON - Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is launching an effort to defeat the nomination of Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department. Santorum is a former Senate colleague of Hagel's and a fellow Republican. He says in a statement that Hagel's, quote, "anti-Israel, pro-Iran mindset" makes him unqualified for the Pen... more
Military.com | Dec 21, 2012
The battle over former Senator Chuck Hagel's potential Secretary of Defense nomination continues to escalate with 11 retired flag and general officers publicly endorsing him as a national gay rights group criticizes him on his Senate record. Hagel, not yet nominated by President Obama to succeed Leon Panetta as the Pentagon chief, has been unde... more