With Dean Chris Hill asking the questions (very few in that Hagel has a filibuster answer style), Hagel showed his Nebraska common sense and cautious approach toward foreign and defense policy
|Chuck Hagel (top) and|
Dean Chris Hill (bottom)
His political evolution led him to become President Obama’s defense secretary in 2013 in about the worst possible moment for the administration and especially for a secretary that shared Obama’s emphasis on withdrawal and restraint. After his 2012 re-election, Obama slid into a rapid political decline, running through the November 2013 collapse of the Obamacare website and his approval rating (dropped to 40%), culminating in Democrats losing the Senate in November 2014.
Hagel had a historically difficult confirmation with a filibuster and polarized vote. But, the real challenge began his first day on the job. The sequester hugely reduced the military budget and he had to make the cuts.
Events in Hagel’s Tenure
- Sequester, March 2013 – One option he reported: reduce carrier group from 11 to 8.
- Tour of Asia, May 2013 – Said: Decline of U.S. military power “good thing.” Allies must step up. Dealing with doubt of allies.
- Syria red line, August 2013 – Said: Ready to launch strike. President abruptly calls it off.
- Russia Crimea, February 2014 – Assured by Russian Defense Minister Russian Army would not invade.
- ISIL/ISIS, September 2014 – Supported start of bombing again.
- Announcement – Would be resigning November 2014.