By a vote of 58–41, the U.S. Senate on February 26 confirmed Chuck Hagel, a former U.S. senator from Nebraska, as the next secretary of defense.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the Senate has a duty to “advise and consent” on the president’s Cabinet nominees, a duty it exercises through committee hearings and a vote on the Senate floor.
“I fully recognize the immense responsibilities of the secretary of defense,” Hagel said at his confirmation hearing. “I assured the president that if I am confirmed by the U.S. Senate, I will always do my best.”
Hagel, twice wounded while serving in the U.S. Army, will be the first former U.S. enlisted serviceman and first Vietnam War veteran to become secretary of defense.
President Obama announced his intent to nominate Hagel on January 7 and a confirmation hearing was held January 31, but a filibuster mounted by Senate Republicans delayed the vote.