STATEMENT ON NOMINATION HEARING FOR SEN. CHUCK HAGEL AS SECRETARY OF
February 4, 2013
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I join you in welcoming Senator Hagel before
this committee and appreciate his continued willingness to serve the
United States and the men and women of our Armed Forces.
“Before I continue with my opening statement, I’d like to raise concern
about the sufficiency of the materials provided to this committee by our
nominee. Senator Hagel only provided four speeches to the committee even
though his financial disclosure form reveals that he received honoraria
for giving 12 speeches in the last year alone. Late last night just
hours before the today’s hearing began the committee received nearly 230
pages of additional speeches given by the nominee.
“In my judgment, the Committee cannot vote on this nomination until we
have received full and adequate disclosure and have sufficient time to
review and consider the contents of materials provided. I understand
from discussions with my colleagues that there are additional requests
for information that have not received a response.
“Thanks, Mr. Chairman. The President’s nomination of Senator Hagel to
serve as the next Secretary of Defense comes at a critical juncture for
our military and national security interests. Senator Hagel is a good
man who has a record of service and sacrifice that deserves respect. And
while his service is commendable, the fate of his nomination should be
decided by the totality of his record. It is the votes he has cast and
the statements he has made over the many years of his career that will
inform us of his judgment, his view of America’s role in the world and
his view of the military required to support this role.
“As I told him during our meeting in my office, after a long and careful
review of his record, we are just too philosophically opposed on the
pressing issues facing our country for me to support his nomination.
“His record demonstrates what I view as a lack of sound judgment and
steadfast support for policies that diminish U.S. power and influence
throughout the world, as well as a recent trend of policy reversals that
seem based on political expediency rather than core beliefs.
“On the defense budget and sequestration, Senator Hagel’s views are
contrary to the judgment of our top civilian and military leaders.
According to Secretary Panetta, the impact of sequestration to our
military would be “catastrophic” and “devastating” to the military.
General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that we
are “on the brink of creating a hollow force” and that sequestration
would pose “unacceptable risk.” Senator Hagel, instead, has stated that
the Defense Department is “bloated” and that “the Pentagon needs to be
pared down.” I couldn’t disagree more. We need a Secretary of Defense
who will stand up and work with Congress to avert this unacceptable
“On many of the security challenges facing U.S. interests around the
world, Senator Hagel’s record is deeply troubling and out of the
mainstream. Too often, it seems, he is willing to subscribe to a
worldview that is predicated on appeasing our adversaries while shunning
“In 2000, when an overwhelming majority of Senators sent a letter to
President Clinton affirming American solidarity with Israel in the face
of Palestinian aggression, Senator Hagel was one of just four who
refused to sign.
“In 2001, he was one of just two Senators who voted against a bill
extending harsh sanctions against Iran. A year later, he urged the Bush
administration to support Iran’s membership in the World Trade
“He voted against a resolution designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard
Corps – a group responsible for the killing of American soldiers in Iraq
and Afghanistan—a terrorist organization.
“And, on multiple occasions, he has advocated for direct negotiations
with Iran—a regime that continues to repress its people, doggedly pursue
a nuclear weapons capability, and employ terrorist proxies, including
Hamas and Hezbollah, tothreaten the security of Israel and the region.
“Senator Hagel has also been an outspoken supporter of nuclear
disarmament and the Global Zero Movement. At a time when North Korea’s
belligerent actions threaten our allies with their nuclear capabilities,
the security of our own nation and that of our allies requires us to be
vigilant with our own nuclear weapons and defense systems.
“The Senate ratified the New START treaty on the condition that the
president would carry out a nuclear modernization program. The Global
Zero report, of whichHagel was involved, does not fully support even the
President’s commitment to nuclear modernization. How can we in Congress
be confident he will carry out these important modernization efforts?
late, however, Senator Hagel has expressed views in meetings with my
Senatecolleagues and through the press that appear glaringly at odds
with many of his long-held positions, particularly on issues dealing
with Israel, Iran, and our nuclear arsenal. This apparent willingness to
walk-back or alter his positions for the sake of political expediency on
such important issues is deeply troubling and sends a concerning message
to our allies and adversaries alike.
“Though I respect Senator Hagel, his record to date demonstrates he will
be a staunch advocate for the continuation of the misguided policies of
President Obama’s first term. Retreating from America’s unique global
leadership role and shrinking the military will not make Americans
safer. On the contrary, it will embolden our enemies, endanger our
allies, and provide opportunity for nations that do not share our
interests to fill the global leadership vacuum we leave behind. It is
for these reasons, that I believe he is the wrong person to lead the
Pentagon at this perilous and consequential time.”