Chuck Hagel

'Our men and women in uniform and their families must never doubt that their leaders' first priority is them.'

In a 58-41 Senate vote, by far the closest on any successful nominee for the post, Hagel was confirmed as the next Secretary of Defense. A former two-term Republican Senator from Nebraska and a twice-wounded Vietnam veteran, Hagel faced immediate opposition, not from Senate Democrats but from his former GOP colleagues and newly elected, very conservative Republicans. After delaying the vote by filibuster, they relented, clearing the path to confirmation on Feb. 26.

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