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.

A decorated Vietnam veteran, Hagel enlisted in the Army so there is some familiarity with military training. But readying for what is expected to be a tough political battle for confirmation requires a different basic training.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said Hagel will receive briefings on military and administration policies, including the military budget and current operations and capabilities. Defense officials said he would also be briefed on personnel and military readiness issues.

A joint military and civilian transition team from various offices will provide key information and talking points.

Jeremy Bash, Panetta's chief of staff, is Hagel's point man.

Hagel, if confirmed, will take over a Pentagon operation very different from that run by his predecessors since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The next defense secretary will oversee the winding down the war in Afghanistan as well as a smaller troop presence there once the bulk of U.S. forces head home in 2014.

He will face large scale budget cuts imposed by the Obama administration and the possibility of bigger spending reductions, if proposed deficit reduction measures take hold in Congress.

Hagel will also face Iran and questions about its nuclear program as well the Syrian civil war and the presence of chemical stockpiles there.

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Filed under: Congress • Pentagon • Secretary of Defense
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. rightospeak

    Hagel can handle a few idiots . The problem is the BIG Money Trusts that profits from wars and own our media. The manipulation of comments to mold the public opinion and censorship so people can use only facebook or twitter are the culprits. The truth is buried by the Oligarchial Parrots. Some call them journalists,some call them Imperial Parrots. They are harmful to our country and resulted in our bankrupcy-no truth,no democracy . The ladies at CNN some months back were only laughing when someone told them that the US was bankrupt-they had no clue. Maybe now it is dawning on them.

    January 10, 2013 at 8:44 am | Reply
  2. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    Take it easy people! Israel is a close friend to the USA, But i feel you guys pain. I mean Israel,they need us. but do we really need them? they start alot of mess and kill alot of people. but we must defend them at all times. Im just not sure why.

    January 9, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  3. jason

    WE NEED MORE AMERICANS REPRESENTING AMERICANS AND LESS ISRAELIS IN OUR CONGRESS, IN OUR SOCIETY, AND
    IIN OUR POCKETS. ISRAEL IS LIKE A VIRUS DESTROYING THE UNITED STATES AND UNTIL WE STAND TOGETHER THERE WILL NO LONGER BE A UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BUT A TERRITORY OF ISRAEL

    January 9, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  4. Lyndsie Graham

    Let's just hope that Chuck Hagel does become the next Sec. of Defense. I'm sick and tired of all these right-wing fanatics running everything in Washington D.C.!

    January 9, 2013 at 11:50 am | Reply
    • Rick from LA

      Hagel is a RINO. He has the background in both politics and military, He is a good choice.

      January 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  5. StanCalif

    Obama has done well standing up to Israel! For once we have an American president, not an Israeli president!
    Hagel, likewise, stood up and declared himself an American Senator – not an Israeli Senator! Where do our other senators and representatives stand? We ALL know the answer! Both parties bow to Israel first. Isn't this called treason?

    January 9, 2013 at 10:01 am | Reply
    • jason

      Stan: You are very right my friend. Israel wants someone who will send our brothers and sisters in harms way to go to war with Iran. Israel doesnt care about Americans, just their agenda to rule the middle east and they want us o et killed in the process. The jewish lawmakers and right wing fanaticals that support israels conquest of the middle east has drained US economically, politcally, and psychologically. What can we do against the jewish war machine which includes the mainstream media who tried to get a consensus for a war, the banks to fund it, and the govt to back it all. WE Americans cant let another American die for a worthless cause by a religious right wing extremist govt of Israel, WE HAVE TO SAY NO!!!!

      January 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  6. Hahahahahahahaha

    He'll never be confirmed. The right wing war machine needs to keep funding the MIC you know. Hahahahahahhahah

    January 9, 2013 at 9:16 am | Reply
  7. LT COL HOWARD

    Hagel supporters explicitly stir up anti-Semitism by alleging Hegel’s opposition are part of the Jewish lobby conspiracy
    I was inside the Saudi lobby which is much larger and much more powerful than all pro-Israel groups put together. Hegel derives much $ support from them
    Iran sees him as the weak link that will ensure that they achieve a nuclear weapon. China and North Korea do not respect him
    He supported Malley’s clandestine contacts Hamas which encouraged Hamas to mount rocket attacks on Israel
    He supported Kerry and Pelosi when they visited Assad and undercut the Bush State Department foreign policy in Syria
    Hegel is unfit to be Secretary of State

    January 9, 2013 at 3:01 am | Reply
    • Bibi The Butcher and the B Vitch

      We own you stupid Americans!

      And we do not want this anti-israel dog to be the Pentagon's new Chief!

      We want a goyim slave at the Pentagon to do what we say!

      If obama doesn't do want we tell him to do, then we will sic our brave mossad on Hagel and obams – we'll get rid of them both in an accidental airplane crash or we'll make it look like a suicide.

      Either way, we'll get what we want since we killed John F. Kennedy, we can kill anyone who gets in our way.

      We own you, you stupid Americans!!!

      israel forever . . .the home and capital of the new world order. The world is ours!

      You stupid Americans exist only because we let you!!!!!!

      January 9, 2013 at 9:23 am | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Bush proved to be an unfit president! He and Cheney lusted for Iraq's oil. WMD's was a big lie all along. Bush's "Shock and Awe" went as planned; however, his "Mission Accomplished" statement was another big lie! All he accomplished was to start something that would never end well. Today, Bush's Iraq is a better friend of Iran! Bush and Cheney got exactly zero cheap Iraqi oil that was supposed to pay the bills for their little capitalistic adventure.
      Remember, Cheney said the war in Iraq would be revenue neutral!

      January 9, 2013 at 10:31 am | Reply
    • massoud

      Considering that the Chicken Hawk and Neocon mouthpiece William Kristol who is always wrong on US Foreign Policy, opposes a twice decorated Vietnam Veteran who wants to stop the US from Policing the World and get back to a more sensible foreign policy is a sterling endorsement for Chuck Hagel.

      January 9, 2013 at 10:49 am | Reply
      • StanCalif

        Agree! All the billions we waste policing the world and never resolving anything, would create wonders here at home!
        Imagine all the new roads, bridges, water systems, etc. we could actually afford to build! Imagine people working for wages better than MacDonald's pays! Imagine American consumers with incomes sufficient enough to once again invest in buying homes! Consumers drive our economy. Military spending and big tax cuts for the rich just don't work!
        Fix our country first! We can be strong again if we actually try. A strong economy and a strong middle class can always protect and defend America!

        January 9, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • jason

      Nutty Yahu says he will go through AIPAC to stop Hagels confirmation and will urge the jewish lawmakers in our country to do the same.....SINCE WHEN DO WE LET A FOREIGN COUNTRY LIKE ISRAEL DICATATE THE TERSM TO US? And supposedly Israel is our greatest ally? these people who slaughter innocent peoole day in and day out bc of their belief that they're the "chosen people" what idiot let this stupid Israeli country control our foreign policy and our politcs...if our four fathers were alive today they would spit at Nutty Yahu and take a dump all over Israel for tryign to interfere in our nations best interest

      January 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  8. JOHN TRAIN

    As Iran watches the Obama-Kerry-Hagel assume control of US foreign policy, the signal is unmistakable
    You don’t nominate a person to head the US military who says he is still haunted by Vietnam, said the effort in Afghanistan was “not sustainable at all,” opposed the effort to win the Iraq War, wants to negotiate with Iran’s ally in Gaza, and is proud of his ability to resist the “Jewish Lobby,” without knowing the signal it sends–particularly when you couple it with a nomination for sec/ state of someone similarly haunted (and known more recently for his continual attempts to engage Bashar al-Assad).
    Obama's message to Iran, Russia, North Korea, China, etc. is clear

    January 9, 2013 at 2:57 am | Reply
    • outspoken

      What USA can do about CHina and Russia, even NK nothing , ZIP

      January 9, 2013 at 9:41 am | Reply
      • Rick from LA

        There are many things the US can do, but none of those things are military. Money is more powerful then the 4th Armored Division.

        January 9, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • StanCalif

      Yes, the "message" is clear! War is not the answer today. The only way for war to solve anything is when the "winner" takes over competely. We are not willing to do this. Instead of colonizing defeated countries and establishing proper rules, laws, courts of justice (for all) we rush to hold elections!!! We turn them loose on themselves with no plan and no knowledge of civil justice then sit back and wonder why the people we "liberate" quickly become our enemies!

      January 9, 2013 at 10:45 am | Reply
    • NNN

      Spoken like a true c h i c k e n h a w k draft dodger. You and your kind should drop dead.

      January 9, 2013 at 10:50 am | Reply
    • StanCalif

      We didn't "win" in Vietnam. we didn't win in Iraq, we will never win in Afghanistan – so Hagel is correct!
      If we allow Israel to create our next wars in Iran and Syria, will we win there? Not a chance!
      If Israel wants war wth Iran, then it should be Israel's war – not ours! Go ahead Israel, start something and get your a**es "wiped off the earth" – make Iran's wish come true! Just don't ask us to save you! We don't know how to win wars anymore in spite of our military might! The politicians all want to run things but don't have a clue!
      Fortunately, Hagel understands this!

      January 9, 2013 at 11:08 am | Reply
      • Rick from LA

        I agree Vietnam was a loss, but how can you say we lost in Iraq? We set goals, acheived them then left a viable autonomous government in crontol. That is Victory.

        Afghanistan can be seen as either way. Our goal was to get revenge on those who slaughtered 3,000 souls on our soil. Let's ask Osama bin Laden if we achieved that goal? We wanted to create a stable country where extremists had no control, in that area we are faltering but have not completely failed. IMHO Afghanistan is a Draw.

        Israel is th most vocal country about Iran, but they are not alone. UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar...etc have requested the US to eliminate the Iranian threat. Isreal get's the most attention because their leadership is becoming as belligerent as Iranian's leadership.

        January 9, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • massoud

      Last time I checked I paid my Taxes to the United States Treasury, Not the Israel Treasury.

      January 9, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Reply

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