Senator Lisa Murkowski today had a frank and candid meeting with Defense Secretary nominee former Senator Chuck Hagel, discussing his views regarding the Middle East, the Pentagon's strategic shift to Asia and the Pacific and Alaska's geographic superiority when it comes to military basing. Murkowski specifically expressed her concern over the proposed move of F-16 Aggressors from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. She shared the following statement afterwards:
"I worked effectively with Chuck Hagel for five years -- including our time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- and it was good to have a productive meeting with him today.
"I appreciated his skeptical brand of thinking and straight talk when we served together, and it was good to see it in our meeting today. While those elements of his personality have generated a lot of negative attention lately, it was refreshing to hear him take responsibility for them while also demonstrating his full command of the new realities we face in 2013.
"Our next Secretary of Defense needs to be flexible and forceful as we encounter threats from around the globe, while also recalibrating our national defense to address our country's fiscal concerns.
"I told him that I will listen carefully to him during the upcoming hearings, which will rightfully be thorough, as he makes his case to be the man charged with such responsibilities."