Senator Jay Rockefeller today issued the following statement on President Obama nominating former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) as U.S. Secretary of Defense.
"Chuck Hagel has a long and distinguished career dealing with intelligence and military issues. As a war hero and Vietnam veteran, he understands firsthand the needs of our troops on the ground. During his time in the Senate, I worked with him very closely on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I deeply respect the integrity, thoughtfulness, and independence that he brought to intelligence oversight. He always held the Intelligence Community to the highest standards and never shirked the duty to take on tough issues.
"Chuck also led a very successful company for 15 years, and this type of management experience coupled with his extensive knowledge of intelligence issues would be invaluable at the Pentagon, particularly as we work to get the nation's budget and the Defense Department's budget under control in smart, targeted ways.
"He is a true patriot who doesn't act based on political ideology, but in the best interest of the country. This is the type of proven leader we need at the Defense Department.
"I sincerely thank Secretary Panetta for his service to the country, at the Defense Department, CIA, and many other distinguished posts he has held throughout his remarkable career in service to our country. And I hope the Senate will act quickly to approve Chuck Hagel to fill this position."