January 9th, 2013
06:20 PM ET

0 to 9,000: Afghanistan options emerge

By Chris Lawrence and Mike Mount

The Pentagon expects to get a read on Thursday from Afghan President Hamid Karzai on what he expects from the U.S. military going forward, a defense official said.

"We're going to tell them where we think it's going as far as training the Afghan National Security Forces, and they'll tell us where they think it's going," the official said.

Karzai's visit will cover the residual troop presence following the planned withdrawal of American combat forces in 2014 as well as negotiating an end to the war, another U.S. official said.

That official said reconciliation talks have "shown some signs of life after being dormant for the past year.

FULL POST

Hagel trying to set record straight
January 9th, 2013
05:09 PM ET

Hagel trying to set record straight

By Chris Lawrence and Mike Mount

On his second day at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel is trying to set his Iran record straight, saying he supports tough international sanctions against the country in an attempt to counter complaints by critics who say he favored talking directly with the government in Tehran, according to Defense officials with direct knowledge of the nominee’s conversations Wednesday.

Hagel told Pentagon staff he also believes all options in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, including military action, should be on the table, according to the officials.

The nominee has begun meeting with Defense staff as he prepares for his confirmation hearing. That hearing is expected to be held in late January or early February, though no specific date has been chosen, according to a Senate staffer.

Also: Santorum to fight Hagel nomination

One of the Defense officials said Hagel wanted to set the record straight and that he believes he has been misrepresented by his critics.

The messaging is “part of a bigger effort; he’s also been reaching out to the Jewish community on their concerns, doing the same to the gay community. He’s making the appropriate rounds,” according to the official.

 

 

 

Pentagon readies Hagel for confirmation fight
January 9th, 2013
12:00 AM ET

Pentagon readies Hagel for confirmation fight

By Mike Mount

Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel wasted no time in starting formal preparations for what is expected to be a bruising Senate confirmation fight.

One day after his nomination by President Barack Obama, the former Nebraska senator spent Tuesday at the Pentagon meeting key officials and settling in. There were no official briefings, officials said.

Hagel had dinner with outgoing secretary Leon Panetta on Monday night. Officials would not discuss what they talked about, only saying that they were served a Midwestern menu of steak and corn chowder - a nod to Hagel's Nebraska roots.

Over the next few weeks, Hagel and the team assigned to prep him for the Armed Services Committee hearing will spend much of their time in an area resembling a generic cubical farm. Hagel gets his own office.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Congress • Pentagon • Secretary of Defense