October 23, 2014

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel confirmed as Secretary of Defense (AUDIO)

Former U. S. Senator Chuck Hagel

Former U. S. Senator Chuck Hagel

Former Nebraska United States Sen. Chuck Hagel has been confirmed as the Secretary of Defense.

The Senate voted 58-41 to confirm Hagel as President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the nation’s military, the narrowest vote on Defense Secretary on record. Hagel succeeds Leon Panetta, who served four years as the head of the CIA and Pentagon.

Sen. Mike Johanns voted in favor of Hagel’s confirmation. Sen. Deb Fischer voted against.

The Senate moved to a confirmation vote on Hagel after earlier voting 71 to 27 to end a week-long Republican-led filibuster of Hagel, a Republican.

The Hagel nomination ran into a number of obstacles, including questions about Hagel’s support of Israel and his overall approach to the Middle East. Other Senators held up the nomination, asking the Obama Administration for more details on the September 11th attack of last year on a United States Embassy compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Hagel won the endorsement of the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 12th on a party-line 14-11 vote.

Hagel, a Republican, served Nebraska in the United States Senate from 1997 to 2009. He is a Vietnam War veteran.

AUDIO: Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, speaks before Hagel confirmation vote. [3:45]