Mark Udall, a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, said he will vote to confirm former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense. Udall questioned Hagel at length on a host of important issues in a private meeting last week. And Udall questioned Hagel today at the confirmation hearing regarding Iran, Israel, cybersecurity and ensuring equal treatment for all service members. Udall has concluded that the nominee demonstrated that he is the right man to lead the Pentagon.
"Sen. Hagel showed me today and throughout his confirmation process that he understands the issues facing the U.S. military, and that he agrees we need to pursue a smart, but tough national security policy. I believe he will stand with Israel and our allies, take every necessary step to prevent a nuclear Iran, treat all service members equally regardless of their sexual orientation and strengthen our cybersecurity," Udall said. "Without question, Chuck Hagel will bring his remarkable experience as both a combat veteran and an outspoken Senate leader to the Pentagon. I intend to support Sen. Hagel's confirmation as our country's next Secretary of Defense."
Udall met with Hagel in mid-January to discuss a wide range of issues, including appropriate levels of military spending and his concerns about Hagel's past statements about Iran and the United States' relationship with Israel. During that meeting and at the hearing today, Udall pressed Hagel to affirm that every option is on the table with regard to Iran's potential acquisition of nuclear weapons, including the use of military force. Then and today, Udall also urged Hagel to support the Department of Defense's role in leading cybersecurity efforts and training warriors in Colorado for this new battlefront.
Udall, who led efforts to repeal the discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy, also successfully pressed Hagel today to clearly state that all service members will be treated the same, regardless of their sexual orientation.