U.S. Senator Angus S. King, Jr. (I-Maine), a member of the Armed Services Committee, today voted in favor of the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to become the 24th U.S. Secretary of Defense. Following Senator Hagel's confirmation, Senator King released the following statement:
"Having met Senator Hagel personally, and having heard his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am convinced that he is a man of honesty, integrity, and intelligence, who will be a strong leader for the Department of Defense, offer the President unvarnished advice, and work tirelessly to lead and support the brave men and women of our armed services.
"Throughout his confirmation process, Senator Hagel was forthright in his answers and I believe he appropriately addressed my concerns -- including the challenges of leading the Department of Defense during a period of critical transition in Afghanistan, managing a massive and complex department in an era of budget austerity that includes the looming threat of sequestration, addressing the threat Iran poses to its neighbors and the international community, supporting Israel's regional security, and focusing on the importance of America's cybersecurity.
"Additionally, I believe his combat experience will lend itself well to leading the Department during a period of transition and reintegration for our nation's fighting men and women. Furthermore, it is a testament to Senator Hagel's qualifications that he garnered the bipartisan support of former top government officials, including former Secretaries of Defense Bill Cohen and Robert Gates, as well as former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright, and many other distinguished government and former military officials. Ultimately, I believe Senator Hagel will be a strong leader for the Department of Defense and, as a member of the Armed Services Committee, I look forward to working with him."