WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, voted against the confirmation of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Hagel was confirmed in the Senate today by a 58-41 vote.
“I continue to have serious concerns about the ability of Senator Hagel to lead the Department of Defense during this consequential time for our nation’s security,” Inhofe said. “His long record of controversial positions on issues ranging from nuclear disarmament, defense spending, Iran, and his misguided comments on Israel demonstrate, in my view, a profound and troubling lack of judgment on many of the critical issues he will now be confronted with as Secretary of Defense.
“His first order of business as Secretary must be averting the devastating cuts to our military associated with sequestration. As testimony from our most distinguished senior military leaders over the last several months has made clear, these cuts will result in a hollow force that, for the first time in recent history, will be unable to respond to contingencies around the world. It is my hope that Senator Hagel will not want to be known as the Secretary of Defense responsible for overseeing the gutting of our military and instead will step up and exhibit the leadership necessary to avert this unacceptable outcome.
“I stand ready and willing to work with Senator Hagel as the nation's new Secretary of Defense to ensure that we do not go down this path of disarming America, that we continue to support our allies around the world, and that our military remains the most capable and respected fighting force in the world.”