President Barack Obama has nominated former Republican senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defence.
Hagel, 66, was a Republican senator from Nebraska from 1997 until 2009. An initial supporter of the war in Iraq, Hagel became a critic of the Bush administration. He was spoken of as a potential vice-presidential running mate for Obama in 2008.
Obama also nominated John O. Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He is currently Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President.
Both nominations require Senate approval.
Text of President Obama’s remarks in nominating Hagel and Brennan.
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Please have a seat. As President and Commander-in-Chief, my most solemn obligation is the security of the American people. Over the past four years, we’ve met that responsibility by ending the war in Iraq, and beginning a transition in Afghanistan; by decimating the al Qaeda core and taking out Osama bin Laden; by disrupting terrorist plots and saving countless American lives.
Among an outstanding national security team, I am especially grateful to Leon Panetta, who has led the CIA and our military with incredible skill. Leon, after nearly five decades of service, you have more than earned the right to return to civilian life. I’ll have much more to say about Leon’s distinguished service in the days ahead. Today, I simply want to convey both to you and to Sylvia the eternal gratitude of the entire nation. Thank you so much, Leon. [Read more…]
These are today’s briefings from Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and others on Cyclone Yasi. [Read more…]
Kevin Rudd has offered his condolences following the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan.
- Listen to Rudd (5m)
Transcript of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s press conference.
PRIME MINISTER: I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan. This brave soldier, wearing the uniform of Australia died the field of duty wearing his nation’s uniform and wearing it with pride.
On behalf of the Government, I extend my condolences to his family and to his friends and to his loved ones. Our prayers and those of the entire nation are with his family and his friends and his loved ones on this most tragic of days. [Read more…]
An Australian soldier has been killed in a rocket attack in Oruzgan Province in Afghanistan. He is the eighth Australian casualty in Afghanistan since 2001.
The announcement was made in Canberra by the Chief of the Defence Foce, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston.
- Listen to ACM Houston’s press conference (14m)
Text of media release from the Defence Department.
An Australian soldier in Afghanistan has been killed in a rocket attack whilst conducting operations in Oruzgan Province.
Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Angus Houston, said the soldier was killed early yesterday evening, Australian time. [Read more…]