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Obama Calls Hagel ‘Leader Our Troops Deserve’

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2013 – President Barack Obama today praised his choice to lead the Pentagon as “the defense secretary our nation needs and the leader our troops deserve.”

By a 58-41 vote, the Senate confirmed former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel to succeed retiring Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta. Hagel will be sworn into office tomorrow.

“From the moment he volunteered for military service in Vietnam, Chuck has devoted his life to keeping America secure and our armed forces strong,” Obama said in a statement issued shortly after Hagel’s confirmation. “An American patriot who fought and bled for our country, he understands our sacred obligations to our service members, military families and veterans.”

The president noted challenges ahead.

“I will be counting on Chuck’s judgment and counsel as we end the war in Afghanistan, bring our troops home, stay ready to meet the threats of our time and keep our military the finest fighting force in the world,” he said. “Most of all, I am grateful to Chuck for reminding us that when it comes to our national defense, we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Americans, and our greatest responsibility is the security of the American people.”


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