Senate Panel Backs Hagel for Defense But vote in full Senate is no gimme By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Feb 12, 2013 4:21 PM CST 14 comments Comments In this Jan. 31 file photo, former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) (Newser) – Chuck Hagel has cleared his first hurdle in becoming secretary of defense: The Senate Armed Services panel voted 14-11 to approve President Obama's pick to succeed Leon Panetta. All of the Democrats on the committee backed Hagel, and all of the Republicans opposed him. The nomination now goes to the full Senate, and while AP says the former Nebraska senator is expected to prevail in the end, the outcome is anything but a sure thing. Some Republicans are threatening to take the rare action of filibustering a Cabinet pick, reports Politico. A Senate vote could take place Thursday. Click to read some of the common criticisms against him.