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


Location: Washington, DC


Chairman LEVIN. Thank you, Senator Vitter.
Senator King.

Senator KING. Like all the other inquisitors today, Senator, I
want to thank you for your service, and particularly for your willingness
to put yourself through this process to serve your country
once again. It's one of my life principles never to take a job where
I would have to be confirmed by a legislative body, and you're
doing it.
I also want to comment, I read one commentator that said the
fact that this guy was an enlisted man in Vietnam is nice, but not
really significant. I think it's very significant. I'm a bit of a student
of the Cuban missile crisis, the most dangerous moment this country
has ever experienced, and anybody that studies that period, it's
hard to escape the conclusion that President Kennedy's service on
the front lines of World War II and Chairman Khrushchev's service
in his army during World War II was a significant influence on
their willingness to back away from the nuclear precipice. I think
it's very important to have people with your experience in this, in
this position.
Most of the questions, probably 90 percent, today have been
about policy. But the reality is, as I think you would concede, that
the policy comes from the President of the United States. You're
certainly going to advise, but that's where the policy comes from.
I'd like to ask your thoughts about management, because you're
about to take on the world's most cumbersome bureaucracy, with
a lot of problems and headaches and budgetary challenges.
Just share with me some thoughts about how you're going to approach
the management of the Department of Defense?

Senator HAGEL. Senator, thank you. I note you were sitting there
during the exchange I had with Senator Kane about some of this,
and I would, in answering your question, pick up on a couple of
those observations.
First--and you too, I know, you were a governor. So you both understand
a lot of the pieces of this. No matter how big an organization
is, there are still some fundamentals to leadership and management.
Now, as you have noted, the Department of Defense is
the largest institution certainly in this country, maybe the world.
How then do you try to manage it? Well, it's not about me. The
Secretary of Defense, he leads, he advises the President. But it's
really about the people who have the accountability and the responsibility
to manage every aspect of our defense apparatus. That
includes all the officers. I think there are over 50 presidential appointees
in the Department of Defense. You have obviously the
military, uniformed military, 1.3 million there. So all of these people
are required to manage the Department.
I think a fundamental to me, I think, in answering your question
is accountability. We've had some discussions today about audits.
All institutions must be accountable. Elected officials are account-
able. We're all accountable. And the emphasis on accountability I
don't think can ever be overstated. You give managers flexibility,
you give them resources, but you give them direction and expectations,
and they have to be very clear, very direct, and very defined,
but not to the point where you don't want their input and their
ability to be flexible with their management. I think that's, in my
opinion, Senator, is the key to anything, but surely it is the key
to something as large as the Department of Defense.
A number of questions were asked of me today about specific programs,
submarine programs, different areas of technology and acquisitions,
and our superior technology. And I've said I don't know
enough about it. I don't. There are a lot of things I don't know
about. I, if confirmed, intend to know a lot more than I do. I will
have to.
But at the same time, I would never think that this, as I said
earlier, is about me or I will be running anything. I will be the
leader, I'll be responsible, I'll be accountable. But I've got to rely
on the right teams, the right people, bring those people together.
And again, it's accountability and responsibility.
I would stop there, if that gives you some sense of how I would
intend to do this business.

Senator KING. My theory of leadership is hire good people and
take credit for what they do. That's my best advice.
You're a guy from Nebraska. You were in the Army. So I'm imaging
that every morning you don't get up and think about the Navy.
I hope to correct that over the next few years. Particularly of concern
to us right now in Maine and in other parts of the country
is the multi-year procurement program which is in jeopardy because
of the budget situation.
Your feelings about multi-year procurement and maintaining the
industrial base, which we just have to do if we're going to be able
to maintain our force?

Senator HAGEL. Governor, you probably know, and Governor
Kane does as well, that there is such a thing as a Nebraska navy.
Our governors make these distinguished appointments throughout
their career. Our fleet is small but mighty. But that has been my
initial, early on experience with the Navy.
Industrial base, I referenced that in a couple of comments I made
earlier today in responding to questions. Absolutely essential to our
future that we maintain a strong, growing, credible military industrial
base, for all the reasons you understand. Certainly Senator
Kane does, being from Virginia, and other Senators here who have
in their States these facilities and, more importantly, private companies
that represent our industrial base.
How we then prioritize our needs, how we account for and audit
contracts, forward procurements, cost overruns, waste, fraud, and
abuse, all part of it. This is going to be more and more essential
as we are dealing with, as you have noted, a restricted budget. It
may be a very restricted budget, depending on how things happen
on sequestration.
The Navy is an indispensable part of our security apparatus.
First, it is the one visible projection of power that we have in the
world. Obviously, our rebalancing of resources in the Asia-Pacific
region are some indication of that. The Persian Gulf; we have been
talking all day about Iran, about Israel, but specifically Iran in the
Persian Gulf. You know we have our Fifth Fleet there in Bahrain.
We have two carrier battle groups in and out of that small little
area. The flexibility, agility, missile defense, nuclear, all those capabilities
are within the Navy.
So I am a strong supporter of advancing our Navy technology
and our efforts, and I will continue to do that if confirmed.

Senator KING. Thank you, Senator. I'll have some more questions
at a later time. I appreciate it.

Senator HAGEL. Thank you.


Chairman LEVIN. Thank you, Senator Sessions.
Senator King.

Senator KING. Senator Hagel, one of the first meetings I had
after I began running for this office last summer was with a group
of veterans, going all the way from World War II right up through
Iraq and Afghanistan. I want to share with you one of the ideas
that came out of that meeting because it's been touched upon
today, and that is the issue of employability and employment of
particularly recent veterans. The suggestion was made that the
Army and the military has recruiters, people who help to bring people
in, and perhaps it might make some sense for them to have the
reciprocal of recruiters, outplacement people to deal with soldiers
who are, men and women, who are about to leave, because there's
an information gap, is what the veterans told me, between leaving
the military active duty and then going into the Veterans Administration
jurisdiction. There's a gap there.
You don't really need to respond, but that's a suggestion I might
make, where it would be tremendously helpful to provide that kind
of information--what the programs are, what's available, what the
scholarships are, how the GI Bill works, all those things, to people.
And I'm sure it's done to some extent now, but to really regularize
that and increase it, to be comparable to the effort that's put into

Senator HAGEL. Thank you, Senator. I will think about that. I
had not thought exactly about that potential, but I would say that
as we think through how do we accommodate and fulfill commitments
and assist our veterans, I think we've got to open up all vistas
of new thinking and that is one that would deserve some exploration
and if I'm confirmed I look forward to pursuing the idea
with you.

Senator KING. Thank you.
I'm also serving on the Intelligence Committee and one of the
issues--and you talked about this in your statement and it's been
touched upon some today--is the whole issue of counterterrorism.
Counterterrorism involves the actions of a number of agencies and
bodies of the United States Government. I would commend to you
that I think it deserves some real thought as to where the Department
of Defense ends, stops, and CIA begins in terms of action and
counterterrorism action.
I think there's some--it would be worthwhile for you, if you are
confirmed, to meet with Mr. Brennan if he's confirmed to talk
about the coordination between the two agencies, so we don't end
up with similar, if not identical, functions in different regions of
the world with whole different command structures, rules of engagement,
and all of those kinds of things.
I think counterterrorism sort of spans, covers the gap or the relationship
between traditional defense and the intelligence community.

Senator HAGEL. That is an area that is becoming more and more
relevant, complicated, Title 10 versus Title 50 and all those dynamics.
If confirmed, yes, if Mr. Brennan is confirmed, we'll be spending
some time together.

Senator KING. A final thought, and I know you've touched upon
this. I don't think we can adequately emphasize the importance of
the cyber threat. That may well be the war of the future. My sense
is that we aren't--we're all talking about it, but I'm not sure we
have the sense of urgency. I know Secretary Panetta has increased
or proposed the increase of that capacity. But people can die and
our society could be brought to a standstill without a rocket ever
taking off or an airplane penetrating our air space, and I hope that
will be a point of emphasis because, as I say, I think that may be
the next war.

Senator HAGEL. I agree. I, as you know, noted it in my opening
statement. I agree with everything you've said. This is a huge issue
that continues to loom large over our future and our security, and
it will have, if confirmed, a lot of my attention.

Senator KING. Thank you.

Senator HAGEL. Thank you.


Chairman LEVIN. Now, we've completed our second round and
that means that we can--if there's other questions remaining, we
can take a few minutes for them. Is there anybody that wants to?
Yes, Senator King.

Senator KING. One very brief question. In watching television
over the last week or so, I've seen an ad questioning your nomination,
a television ad. And I just wondered if you or any of the people
that have worked on preparing you for this has any idea who's
sponsoring that ad, because it's not apparent from the ad itself?
Have you gotten to the bottom of that?

Senator HAGEL. Senator, first, I have not seen any of those ads.
I know they're there. I long ago figured out the better way to live
life is not get drug down in the underbrush of these kinds of
things. So I don't pay attention to it. My focus is on what's important
about this assignment, this job, if I am confirmed, and in particular
this committee and this body, and preparing myself hopefully
for what matters in the possibility--with the possibility
that the United States Senate confirms me for this job.
So I have not asked anybody that question. I don't know, have
never seen the ads.


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