Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel faces questions on nuclear proliferation at Senate hearing
- Year: 2013
- Length: 2:00 minutes (1.83 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
President Obama’s nominee to lead the Pentagon, Chuck Hagel answered questions from Senators today about his support for Israel, his position on Iran’s nuclear energy program, and his opposition to the escalation of the Iraq war. Hagel, a former Republican Senator from Nebraska, would be the first enlisted combat veteran to be Secretary of Defense. During the hearing, Oklahoma’s James Inhofe and other Republican senators challenged Hagel on his involvement with Global Zero, a group of world leaders who call for “the elimination of all nuclear weapons.”
“We know that the President has said many times he wants a nuclear-free world, and I know that Senator Hagel is right there with him. But at a time when North Korea’s belligerent actions threaten our allies with their nuclear capabilities, and security of our own nation and that of our allies, why would we want to unilaterally disarm ourselves of our nuclear capability?”
Inhofe promised to vote against Hagel’s confirmation, but Hagel said the Senator misrepresented his position on nuclear proliferation.
“My position has never been unilateral disarmament. Ever. Never. We have, over the years, which I have supported, the United States has led in reducing—the efforts to reducing nuclear warheads. But in a dangerous world, nuclear arsenals and our containment policy, which I mentioned in my statement, has been critically important. We’re not going to unilaterally disarm. Verifiable, it has to be bilateral, it has to be negotiated. As all our treaties have been.”
Hagel also promised Senators he would support the decisions to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” and integrate women into combat positions, and would focus on improving mental health and decreasing sexual assault in the military, if confirmed. The Senate is expected to vote on Hagel’s nomination in the coming weeks.