U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), released the following statement supporting Senator Chuck Hagel's nomination to become the next Secretary of Defense:
"Senator Hagel and I met in my office last night to discuss issues impacting New Mexico, especially as they relate to the future of our defense installations, national laboratories, and the well-being of our military families.
"New Mexico has one of the highest rates of military volunteerism in the country, and we're home to three Air Force installations, White Sands Missile Range, and two national security laboratories. Therefore, the appointment of a new secretary of defense is of critical importance to the people I represent.
"Over the last several weeks, I've been particularly interested in Senator Hagel's position on modernizing our nuclear weapons. As long as our nation maintains a nuclear arsenal, I believe we need to do everything we can to make sure it is safe, secure, and reliable.
"During our meeting, Senator Hagel shared a mutual support for investing in the infrastructure and Life Extension Programs of our nuclear arsenal, while negotiating further reductions in the number of nuclear weapons. I am pleased that Senator Hagel shares my commitment to investing in the infrastructure, workforce, and programs that enable our laboratories and defense installations to carry out their vital national security missions.
"Senator Hagel also shared my view that sequestration spending cuts would have a devastating effect on New Mexico.
"A combat veteran and two-term senator on both the Foreign Relations Committee and the Intelligence Committee, Senator Hagel has an impressive record of service to our nation. After our meeting and after thoroughly reviewing his qualifications and testimony, I intend to support Senator Chuck Hagel's nomination. I am confident that he will be an effective leader as the next Secretary of Defense."