Senate Confirms Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary

The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Barack Obama’s pick for defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, after a bruising nomination battle that saw widespread Republican opposition to the former Republican senator by a vote of 58 to 41. Hagel will lead the Pentagon as America’s war in Afghanistan is winding down, and at a time of U.S. fiscal austerity.

New US Defense Secretary Confirmed - VOA

Senate Confirms Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary - WP

Hagel Prevails in Senate After Bruising Bout With GOP - NYT

Hagel Confirmed as Defense Secretary - BBC

Senate Confirms Hagel for Defense Secretary - S&S

Bruised Hagel Takes Reins at DOD in Time of Fiscal Turmoil - S&S

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Forgot to say I'm happy when Ned is happy. He is a good barometer of things

I was in Vietnam at the same time and place as Chuck Hagel. In a 2002 interview with Veterans History Project Chuck Hagel characterizes those he went on combat operations with as drunked up, drugged up, worthless to him, and a hindrance. He said WW11 NCOs just didn't know what was happening. He stated his frustration with invisible battalion leaders and he had a lack of confidence in the officer corps. I was in a different company with excellent NCOs, officers, and soldiers (2/47 Infantry). He does not speak for me as a Vietnam Vet. His words were offensive and condescending. The interview concerning his military time was incoherent and inaccurate. He has been invited to our 47th Infantry Reunions. He has not attended. I believe he would have difficulty face to face with those he referred to as drunked up, drugged up, worthless, etc. who were there at the same time and place. Purple Hearts are respected but do not qualify anyone to do anything in particular.

Hooray! As a conservative, I saw only two things that people had against Chuck Hagel, a fellow Republican: he speaks his mind and he is often right in what he says. It will be refreshing to have a SecDef who has actually 'been there, gunned that' in a counter-insurgency. Hopefully, he will remember the limits of power and the big toll these 'small wars' take on our fielded troops.

Speaking up his mind and not being stereotypical, and also adding realism to the job, looks to me like the essential thing. He will have to be "Cap the knife" like Weinberger, but also flexible, sophisticated and able to understand complexities around. He looks to me extremely qualified for that.

N. Rogeiro

PS - Of course all sourness from genuine Viet vets is always understandable, as old soldiers die hard and should be respected when they keep faithful to their oaths