Obama Nominates Chuck Hagel To Be Defence Secretary

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…]