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.

Sources: Hagel Resigning as Defense Secretary

Former Sen. 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

Thanksgiving Day Message from SecDef Hagel

chuck hagel 600x400

One hundred fifty years ago, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving. Though it was a time of hardship, Thanksgiving was a day for Americans to express gratitude for the many blessings they enjoyed, including the sacrifices of those serving in uniform and their families. Every year ... more

Hagel Regrets Taliban Wisecrack

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel phoned Prof. Robin Gandhi at the University of Nebraska to "express regret" for a wisecrack he directed to the educator during a question-and-answer session on Wednesday, when he said: "You're not a member of the Taliban, are you?" Pentagon chief spokesman George Little on Friday confirmed that Hagel "did reach out... more

Hagel Takes Helm at Pentagon After Bitter Fight

Chuck Hagel, left, is sworn into office as the 24th defense secretary by Michael L. Rhodes, the Defense Department's director of administration and management, as Hagel's wife, Lilibet, holds a Bible at the Pentagon, 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

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