U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement on the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) as Secretary of Defense:
"In nominating former Senator Chuck Hagel as our nation's next Secretary of Defense, President Obama has chosen someone with significant experience on the fields of battle and in the halls of Congress to lead the Pentagon through a challenging time. He has also, once again, shown his commitment to including accomplished Republican leaders in his Cabinet. Highly decorated for his military service and deeply respected for his legislative accomplishments, Senator Hagel has the potential to be a strong Secretary of Defense and a trusted advisor to the president."
"While I am generally optimistic about his nomination, Senator Hagel has made troubling statements on several issues in the past that remain in the forefront today -- issues that are important to me -- and I will closely watch his confirmation hearing for answers to what I expect will be very direct and difficult questions about those statements. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss some of those questions with him personally before casting my vote. It is my hope that those answers will be satisfying not only to me, but to my colleagues in the Senate, and our allies around the world."