Responding to the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel to Secretary of Defense, Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) released the following statement:
"As a member of Congress and the House Armed Services Committee, I join many of my Congressional colleagues in holding the most serious of reservations to the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel to lead our nation's Department of Defense.
"The Department of Defense (DoD) is facing more challenges today than I have seen in my lifetime. If sequestration goes into effect, we are facing the the smallest Army since 1950 and the smallest Navy since 1915. While I believe that every single government agency has room to cut wasteful spending, I agree with current DoD Secretary Panetta that an across the board cut to defense spending will prove 'devastating.'
"Senator Hagel however, when asked about sequestration, refused to concur with Secretary Panetta's assessment and, instead, agreed that the DoD needs to be 'pared down.'
"Possibly just as alarming as Senator Hagel's congruency to the Obama sequestration policy, is his stance on our closest and most strategic friend and ally, Israel. Senator Hagel's track record of being soft on Iran and hard on Israel mirrors the Obama administration and should make all Americans apprehensive of his ability to serve as Defense Secretary.
"Senator Hagel refused to cosponsor the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act and was one of only two United States Senators to vote against the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act. He has also refused to sign many pro-Israel letters and is on record agreeing that the President of the United States should open direct talks with the terrorist group, Hamas.
"The next Secretary of Defense must show a commitment to strengthening our military force and defense capabilities. The Obama Administration's ongoing practice of betraying our friends and emboldening our enemies has the most profound of implications to our national security and to human freedom in the world. If confirmed, I deeply hope Senator Hagel will reassess and reject these dangerous policies."