U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) today issued the following statement after a meeting with Secretary of Defense nominee, Sen. Chuck Hagel:
"My meeting today with Senator Chuck Hagel was very useful. We had the opportunity to touch on a variety of issues facing our country and how New Mexico contributes to the strength of our national security.
"Senator Hagel conveyed that if confirmed, he will be committed to keeping safe, reliable and secure nuclear deterrent. We also discussed the need to modernize the national laboratories and diversify the work being done there.
"During our conversation about New Mexico's military bases, I was interested to learn that he was stationed at both White Sands and Fort Bliss before serving in Vietnam. He is well aware of the important contributions our bases make in our national security efforts, and spoke highly of the communities and geography -- which are second to none for training.
"Finally, I emphasized my desire to see a successful and accelerated drawdown of U.S. combat forces in Afghanistan. I believe he is committed winding down the war in the most responsible way possible and understands the logistical challenges to making this a reality."