Hagel seeks to bring furloughed Defense Department civilians back to work
October 1st, 2013
03:10 PM ET

Hagel seeks to bring furloughed Defense Department civilians back to work

By Barbara Starr

Even as furloughed civilian Defense Department workers streamed out of the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel began working half a world away to get all 400,000 furloughed personnel globally back to work.

“Hagel is looking to get as many people back to work as soon as he can,” a senior defense official told CNN on Tuesday.

Hagel, who is traveling in Asia, hinted to reporters about what exactly he has in mind and it centers around a law quickly passed on Monday to keep troops and some essential civilian workers paid.
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Defense trims furloughs to 6 days from 11
August 6th, 2013
03:24 PM ET

Defense trims furloughs to 6 days from 11

By Jennifer Liberto

The Defense Department is giving its employees a break by trimming furlough days.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday that furloughs for workers would be cut to 6 days, from 11. Employees will take their last furloughs next week, instead of late September.

Hagel said he was able to win the reprieve by finding savings and cuts in other areas.

Ever since July 8, some 650,000 defense workers have been taking one unpaid day off each week. It has effectively cut employee pay about 20% for nearly three months. The savings from 11 furlough days was only about $1.8 billion, a sliver of the $40 billion that the Pentagon had to cut as part of the sequester, or forced federal spending cuts.

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Hagel quotes Eisenhower, cites fiscal pressures in major policy speech
April 3rd, 2013
06:40 PM ET

Hagel quotes Eisenhower, cites fiscal pressures in major policy speech

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel quoted President Dwight D. Eisenhower Wednesday, telling rising military officers "the wise and prudent administration of the vast resources required by defense calls for extraordinary skill."

In his first major policy speech since taking over the Pentagon, Hagel focused on the budget problems facing the Defense Department and the rest of the government.

"A combination of fiscal pressures and a gridlocked political process has led to far more abrupt and deeper reductions than were planned for or expected. Now DoD is grappling with the serious and immediate challenge of sequester - which is forcing us to take as much as a $41 billion cut in this current fiscal year," Hagel said at the National Defense University at Fort McNair.
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Filed under: Budget • China • Hagel • Japan • Military • Military life • Missile launch • North Korea • Secretary of Defense • Security Brief • South Korea
January 31st, 2013
02:29 AM ET

Five things Chuck Hagel may be asked about

By Matt Smith

When the Senate Armed Services Committee is gaveled into session Thursday, Chuck Hagel is likely to face some sharp questions from many of his old colleagues.

If confirmed as secretary of defense, the one-time infantry sergeant and twice-wounded Vietnam veteran would be the first former enlisted man to lead the Pentagon. The former Republican senator from Nebraska gets his chance to answer questions Thursday morning during his confirmation hearing, and here are five subjects where he can expect them.

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Hagel to focus on present, not past, in testimony
January 31st, 2013
12:34 AM ET

Hagel to focus on present, not past, in testimony

By Jessica Yellin and Adam Aigner-Treworgy

When former Sen. Chuck Hagel appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, don’t expect him to dwell on controversial statements from his past. Instead, allies say, he’ll focus on the present.

He will testify that if confirmed to be the next Secretary of Defense, he will be fully supportive of the president’s policies, including a preference for diplomacy but a willingness to use force, an Obama administration official working on the senator’s confirmation hearing told CNN.

Hagel has been slammed for his past opposition to unilateral sanctions against Iran, and critics have questioned his support for Israel. This official says Hagel will testify Thursday morning that he believes Iran is a state sponsor of terror; he supports the president’s sanctions strategy against Iran and believes all options should be on the table including the military option. He’ll also testify that it’s his view that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.

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Revealed:  North Korea's upgraded nuke test site
Location of possible command bunker at suspected nuclear test tunnel at Pung-gye-Ri nuclear test site in North Korea
January 24th, 2013
09:00 PM ET

Revealed: North Korea's upgraded nuke test site

By Pam Benson

Satellite imagery of a North Korean nuclear test site identifies what could be key installations that would likely play a prominent role if Kim Jong Un orders a test, which the government threatened to do on Thursday.

The analysis of the Pung-gye-Ri Nuclear Test site by U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s 38 North blog shows recently completed structures essential to an underground nuclear weapons test.

One is believed to be a command and control bunker. Another photo shows what appears to be a radio relay system that zigzags through a valley, which the 38North analysts believe could be used as part of a communications system linking the bunker to the North Korean leadership in Pyongyang.

Why sticks won't work with North Korea

"Located about 150 meters (164 yards) north of the test tunnel entrance, the bunker, used only when a test is about to be conducted, would contain equipment for controlling the nuclear device, managing instruments for gathering test data and communicating with authorities in Pyongyang," the report stated. "The bunker would also provide shelter for all personnel in the area."

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McCain, vocal with reservations toward Hagel, won't block nomination
January 13th, 2013
11:09 PM ET

McCain, vocal with reservations toward Hagel, won't block nomination

By Gregory Wallace

Sen. John McCain, prominent among the Washington ranks who have questioned former Sen. Chuck Hagel's suitability for the top Defense Department post, said Sunday he will not exert his power to block Hagel's nomination.

"No," he told CNN when asked directly whether he would block the nomination in the Senate. "I plan to make a judgment as to whether I think he's appropriate to be Secretary of Defense or not."

Each senator has the power to prevent a nomination from advancing to the floor, and one of McCain's close colleagues, Sen. Lindsey Graham, has suggested he would put President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the CIA on hold while awaiting answers on the U.S. Consulate attack in September in Benghazi, Libya.

McCain said he does not plan to block that nomination or that of John Brennan for the CIA, either. He said he does have questions for both.

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Filed under: Hagel • McCain • Secretary of Defense
Panetta orders defense cuts before Congress does
January 10th, 2013
06:14 PM ET

Panetta orders defense cuts before Congress does

By CNN Staff

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered the military to begin implementing cost-cutting measures aimed at mitigating the risk of significant budget cuts should Congress fail to reach a deal in coming months to avert or soften them.

"We have no idea what the hell is going to happen," Panetta said Thursday.

He has asked services to begin "prudent" measures, including curtailing maintenance for non-critical activities and delaying hiring.

The measures must be "reversible" and minimize harmful impacts on military readiness, Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon.

Military departments have also been told to report on how they would implement deep automatic spending cuts, called sequester, and enforce unpaid leave for civilian employees should the reductions occur.

Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey have warned Congress that uncertainty over the absence of a long-term spending agreement, debt-ceiling concerns and the lack of a full congressional budget process is extremely harmful.
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Filed under: Budget • Defense Spending • Military • Panetta • Secretary of Defense • Sequestration
January 10th, 2013
06:03 PM ET

Karzai comes with wish list

By Mike Mount

Afghan President Hamid Karzai showed up to the Pentagon on Thursday with a wish list of military equipment to ensure the security of his country by the time NATO forces leave at the end of 2014.

In return, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had a message to deliver – the United States wants to make sure Afghanistan does not become a terrorist safe haven again.

Karzai's meeting with Panetta, occurring under a cloud of mistrust between both countries, was expected to have some tough talk about the future of Afghanistan. But publicly, the image seemed like there was no trouble at all.

It was the first stop for the Afghan president who was to have dinner with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday and meet with President Barack Obama on Friday.
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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.

 

 

 

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