President Barack Obama says Chuck Hagel, his choice as the new secretary of defense, is "the leader that our troops deserve."
Obama formally announced his choice of Hagel in the White House East Room on Monday even as critics questioned the pick over issues including Hagel's views on Israel and Iran.
Facing a potentially tough fight to get Hagel confirmed by the Senate, Obama praised the former Nebraska senator's independence and bipartisan approach, and said that Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, understands war is not an abstraction.
Hagel, a moderate Republican, has the support of some of his former Senate colleagues but is drawing opposition from others who accuse him of being soft on Iran and insufficiently supportive of Israel.
U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement regarding President Obama’s nomination of former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel to serve as Secretary of Defense:
“I plan to closely review Senator Hagel’s record and look forward to meeting with him to discuss his views on America’s role in an increasingly dangerous world. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will also have the opportunity to publicly question Senator Hagel during his confirmation hearing in the coming weeks. This process will be thorough and fair, and I look forward to participating in it.”