NEWS ABOUT: defense secretary

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Gates Book: Obama Lost Faith in Own Afghan Strategy

Ex-defense chief also admires Hillary but thinks Joe Biden is wrong, a lot

(Newser) - A memoir by former defense chief Robert Gates alleges that President Obama lost faith in his own Afghanistan mission, according to accounts in the New York Times and Washington Post . Gates recalls a meeting in 2011 in which Obama expresses frustration with Gen. David Petraeus and Hamid Karzai: “As... More »

After Hagel Slaps China, China Slaps Back

Defense chief calls out Beijing on cyber espionage

(Newser) - When defense chief Chuck Hagel blamed China yesterday for cyberattacks in the US, it didn't sit well with some Beijing officials in the audience at a Singapore summit. "The United States has expressed our concerns about the growing threat of cyber intrusions, some of which appear to be... More »

Pentagon Drops Drone-Pilot Medal

Award angered veterans, drone opponents

(Newser) - The Pentagon has nixed a new medal for drone pilots before anyone was nominated for it. The Distinguished Warfare Medal, announced by Leon Panetta just before he left the Pentagon, angered veterans as well as those taking issue with drone tactics, the Washington Post reports. A veterans' petition hit the... More »

Blasts Rock Afghanistan as Hagel Visits

Nearly 20 people killed after defense chief arrives

(Newser) - A suicide bomber on a bicycle struck outside the Afghan Defense Ministry in Kabul today, one of two attacks that killed at least 18 people as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited the nation. Nine people were killed in the bombing at the ministry, a fresh reminder that insurgents continue to... More »

After Closest Vote Ever, Chuck Hagel Sworn In

He'll next address Pentagon workers

(Newser) - Chuck Hagel's 58-41 confirmation vote wasn't just close; it was the closest ever for a defense secretary, notes Reuters , with just four Republicans voting in favor of the Republican, who was sworn in this morning. The closed-door ceremony will be followed by an address to Pentagon workers at... More »

Senate Confirms Hagel as Defense Chief

Move follows end of GOP filibuster

(Newser) - It took a few weeks longer than expected, but the Senate today approved Chuck Hagel to be the next defense secretary. The final vote—58-41, with four Republicans voting in favor—came after the GOP dropped its unprecedented delay of President Obama's choice to head the Pentagon. The former... More »

Hagel Nomination Clears Filibuster

Senate will vote to confirm in a matter of hours

(Newser) - The Senate has voted 71-27 to end debate on Chuck Hagel's nomination for secretary of Defense, paving the way for his all-but-guaranteed confirmation later this afternoon. Republicans had been filibustering Hagel's nomination, with the last vote to end debate on Feb. 14 falling just short of the 60-vote... More »

Journo: Oops, I Started the Hagel-Hamas Rumors

Dan Friedman explains how made-up group he joked about became news

(Newser) - Ever wonder how unconfirmed rumors snowball into political news stories? At the New York Daily News , Dan Friedman offers an example—in which he was the unwitting source of the false story. In the midst of Chuck Hagel's confirmation process, Friedman called a GOP aide to find out more... More »

GOP Blocks Nomination of Hagel, for Now

He's still expected to become defense secretary, but after Senate recess

(Newser) - The Chuck Hagel drama continued on Capitol Hill today, as Republicans refused to allow a final vote on his confirmation to become defense secretary, reports the Hill . Hagel is expected to prevail eventually—but now it can't happen until lawmakers return from the Presidents' Day recess. Expect the next... More »

Chuck Hagel Confirmation No Sure Thing: Hill Insiders

Reid looks to head off filibuster threat

(Newser) - The Obama administration has voiced confidence that Chuck Hagel will be confirmed as defense secretary, but congressional sources aren't so sure, they tell CNN . After declaring he wouldn't support a filibuster , John McCain now appears to be waffling on the issue: Before committing, he wants to know more... More »

Senate Panel Backs Hagel for Defense

But vote in full Senate is no gimme

(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... More »

Chuck Hagel Hearing: What He'll Face

Unprecedented opposition campaign could make for an interesting vote

(Newser) - Chuck Hagel heads to Capitol Hill for his confirmation hearing today, and one thing we can say with confidence: It won't be a John Kerry-esque cakewalk . Hagel's facing skepticism and outright opposition from both sides of the aisle over past stances, particularly on Israel and nuclear proliferation. But... More »

What Hagel Said to Impress Obama

Bob Woodward: Hagel is Obama's foreign policy 'soul mate'

(Newser) - Why did President Obama pick Chuck Hagel as his new secretary of defense? It all goes back to a never-reported conversation Hagel had with Obama right after his first term as president began, Bob Woodward reports in a Washington Post column. Obama asked Hagel his thoughts on foreign policy and... More »

After Meeting, Chuck Schumer Backs Hagel

Nominee 'regrets' comment on 'Jewish lobby'

(Newser) - Amid concerns over Chuck Hagel's past comments on "the Jewish lobby," leading Jewish Democrat Chuck Schumer had a 90-minute one-on-one with the Pentagon nominee, and emerged supporting his confirmation. Schumer came to the conclusion, despite "previous concerns," and applauded Hagel's support for "Israel'... More »

Hagel's Skill: Saying What We Want to Hear

Bret Stephens: Former senator is no GOP maverick

(Newser) - Chuck Hagel showed courage in Vietnam—but those who hail him for the bravery to stand against his party have it wrong, writes Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal . The truth is, Hagel is just good at taking views "exactly in keeping with received Beltway wisdom." Take... More »

Barney Frank Gives Hagel a Pass on Gay Comments

But Republican group is less forgiving

(Newser) - With Afghanistan and defense spending at stake, Barney Frank is willing to overlook an anti-gay remark. "I was hoping the president wouldn’t nominate" Chuck Hagel for defense secretary, the gay-rights activist and former Democratic lawmaker tells the Boston Globe . But "as much as I regret what Hagel... More »

Actually, Hagel Nod Is Great for Israel

Roger Cohen argues that Hagel is a real friend of the country

(Newser) - One reason the president's decision to nominate Chuck Hagel as defense secretary is the right choice: We'll finally have "a serious debate on what constitutes real friendship toward Israel," writes Roger Cohen in the New York Times . Jewish groups have come out against Hagel , but their... More »

Obama Taps Hagel, Brennan for Pentagon, CIA

He praises both men at White House event

(Newser) - President Obama officially announced his nominations of Chuck Hagel as secretary of Defense and John Brennan as CIA director today, praising both men for their records of service at a press event in the East Room of the White House. Hagel, Obama said, "knows that war is not an... More »

Obama Will Tap John Brennan for CIA Director

Will nominate Brennan, Chuck Hagel today

(Newser) - President Obama will make two potentially controversial nominations this afternoon: Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and John Brennan as CIA director, the AP reports. Brennan, Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, has a close relationship with the president and was very involved in planning the Osama bin Laden raid. He was... More »

GOP: Hagel an 'In-Your-Face Pick'

GOP is not thrilled with Obama's reported pick for Defense secretary

(Newser) - No sooner had rumors of Chuck Hagel's pending nomination to head up the Pentagon leaked than lips were flapping about what a bad idea it was. Hagel "is an in-your-face nomination by the president," charged Lindsey Graham , who "would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense... More »

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