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Hearing of the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services - Confirmation Hearing of the Nomination of Charles T. Hagel

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Chairman LEVIN. Thank you, Senator Chambliss.
Senator Udall.

Senator UDALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning, Senator
Hagel.

Senator HAGEL. Senator.

Senator UDALL. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your
willingness to once again heed the call and lead the Department
of Defense.
We had a great private meeting last week. We covered many of
the threats and challenges that our country faces: shrinking budgets,
strategic national security shifts, and ensuring, as you have
underlined over and over again already this morning, that we continue
to provide fair and equal opportunities for all of our
servicemembers and their families.
Again, I want to tell you I appreciate that opportunity. I am
going to take you up on your offer if you are confirmed to continue
sitting down with you as a member of the Armed Services Committee.
I know this issue has already been addressed, but I want to
make sure that I am on the record as raising my concerns, and I
want, as I think this committee should, give you every opportunity
to clarify and underline your point of view.
When we met privately, you emphasized your determination to
keep all options on the table with regard to Iran, including a military
strike, if Iran continues to pursue a nuclear program in defiance
of this international obligation.
We also discussed your long-standing support of Israel and our
long-standing relationship. But you have critics out there--I do not
have to tell you that--who maintain that your record on Iran is in
question, and that you are anti-Israel. These are serious charges.
So let me direct some questions your way. Why should Americans
trust that you will consider every option when it comes to one
of the most serious national security threats facing us today, which
is Iran?

Senator HAGEL. Well, first, thank you for an opportunity to clarify
these issues. My record has been very clear on Iran. Senator
Chambliss noted from my 2008 book and my chapter, specifically
noting that I said the military option must remain on the table. I

said that as recently in an op-ed that I co-authored last year in the
Washington Post with two former CENTCOM commanders.
We talked about Iran, and one of the very specific points we
bring out in that op-ed was the military option must remain on the
table along with all the other areas of effort, and expertise, and diplomacy,
and economics, and sanctions, the President is using,
which I have already said I support.
So my record is rather thorough on this, and I would continue
to support that position, and I strongly support the President's position.

Senator UDALL. Senator, talk about your view on Israel, our relationship
with Israel, how can we continue to have a special alliance
with a country with whom we share more than an economic or political
philosophy, but with a broader or moral connection that we
have to Israel?

Senator HAGEL. Well, I have said many times, just as I have said
regarding the military option on Iran many times, in my book,
speeches on the floor, interviews I have given, I am a strong supporter
of Israel. I have been. I will continue to be. I have also said
specifically, and I believe this is in my book, that we have a special
relationship with Israel.
So again, my record is pretty clear. I voted in 12 years in the
United States senate for every authorization, every appropriation
that I had an opportunity to vote on for Israel. I have been to
Israel many times. I have met with their leaders many times.
So again, if you look at my record, I think my record is pretty
clear in my strong support for Israel.

Senator UDALL. Senator, I heard you say when you discussed
your vote against the resolution applying to the IRG, the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard, that in the end you were protecting the Congress'
prerogative when it comes to declaring war. Is that correct?

Senator HAGEL. That is exactly right. That is exactly what I was
saying, and I did not say it, I guess, that way. But that was the
point. And, again, I say, like I have in answering some of the other
questions, it was not a question of the objective. I mean, I shared
the objective, and I suspect all 22 members in the Senate who
voted against that resolution supported the objective. But as Jim
Webb made the case I think pretty effectively, and Senator Webb
was an individual who had rather considerable experience in this
business. He had been Secretary of Navy under Ronald Reagan. He
had been Assistant Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan.
One of the most decorated veterans of Vietnam, U.S. Senator, celebrated
author, lawyer. And I thought he made a pretty strong, persuasive
case. So did many of us.

Senator UDALL. Let us turn to cyber security. I was pleased that
you mentioned cyber security early in your initial remarks. The
Pentagon's move to significantly expand its cyber security assets
and knowledge. I have to talk about Colorado since I represent Colorado.
The Air Force Academy is well positioned to train those new
cyber security experts. We are also the home of space command
and Northern Command.
Would you talk a little bit more about your take on cyber security,
what we ought to be doing, what sorts of resources we need?

Senator HAGEL. Well, Senator, you may know that I have been
to those facilities in Colorado a few times, and I do not know as
much about them as you do. But I am pretty familiar with them.
They are essential to our national security.
Cyber, I believe, represents as big a threat to the security of this
country as any one specific threat for all the reasons this committee
understands. It is an insidious, quiet kind of a threat that
we have never quite seen before. It can paralyze a nation in a second,
not just a power grid or a banking system, but it can knock
out satellites. It can take down computers on all of our carrier battleships.
It can do tremendous damage to our national security apparatus.
That is the larger threat. But when you start defining it down,
this body, I know. I watched it, went through a pretty agonizing
3 months at the end of 2012 trying to find a bill that they could
agree on on cyber. I know or I believe Congress will come back at
it in this new Congress. I think you must, and you know that.
Because we have different intergovernmental authorizations
here--Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense--
where is the capacity? Where are the budgets? Where are the authorities?
This is law enforcement. This is privacy, business, a lot
of complications that we have really never, ever had to face before
on other national defense threats to this country.
So cyber will be an area that we will continue to focus on. We
must. It is an area that I will put high priority on if I am confirmed
to be Secretary of Defense.

Senator UDALL. Senator, in the 2013 NDAA, there is a provision
that compels the military to accommodate the conscience moral
principles or religious beliefs of all members of the armed forces.
It does sound reasonable on the surface, but I am especially concerned
that this could lead to misguided claims of a right to discriminate
against lesbian, gay, and bisexual servicemembers,
women, or persons with certain religious beliefs.
The President has said--I want to quote him--that the Department
of Defense will, quote, ""not permit or condone discriminatory
actions that compromise good order and discipline or otherwise violate
military codes of conduct,'' end of his statement.
Will you ensure that the Department of Defense in accommodating
religious beliefs or conscience--matters of conscience, does
not tolerate discrimination or harm to others?

Senator HAGEL. Absolutely. I will faithfully, diligently enforce
our laws. All men and women deserve the same rights, and I can
assure you that that will be a high priority if I--to enforce that and
ensure that in every way through the entire line of chain of command
and accountability.

Senator UDALL. Thank you, Senator Hagel. I look forward to the
second round of questions.

Senator HAGEL. Thank you.

Senator UDALL. I think it is now afternoon, so good afternoon to
you, and thank you for being here.

Senator HAGEL. Senator, thank you.

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