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US Senate Confirms Hagel as Pentagon Chief

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The U.S. Senate has confirmed Chuck Hagel as the next U.S. defense secretary.

The Senate approved the nomination Tuesday.

The vote came hours after the Senate voted to end debate on the nomination of the former senator, clearing the way for his confirmation in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Senate Republicans delayed a full vote on Hagel's nomination nearly two weeks ago, raising concerns about his views on the Middle East and the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Republicans accused Hagel of being too lenient toward Iran and too critical of Israel. Republicans also found fault with him for opposing the 2007 U.S. troop surge in Iraq.

Despite the criticism, Senate Republicans said late Monday they would stop delaying the "up or down" vote on the nomination.



President Barack Obama nominated Hagel, a former enlisted solider and Vietnam veteran, to succeed retiring Pentagon chief Leon Panetta.

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FILE - President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland en route to Southeast Asia, November 17, 2012.

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