Senate OKs Hagel as defense chief
Hagel's challenges include winding down U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan
February 26th, 2013
05:12 PM ET

Senate OKs Hagel as defense chief

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Chuck Hagel as defense secretary after a bruising political fight. The former Nebraska senator, a Republican, will succeed Leon Panetta at the Pentagon.

Hagel's nomination was subject to harsh criticism from some Republicans over past statements on sensitive political and national security matters. His shaky performance at his confirmation hearing and subsequent political wrangling over his selection and on unrelated matters did not help his case.

But efforts to further delay his nomination were swept away on Tuesday as the Senate confirmed him, 58 to 41.

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