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US Senate Confirms Hagel as Pentagon Chief

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

The Senate approved the nomination Tuesday in a vote of 58 to 41.

The action came hours after the Senate voted to end debate on the nomination, clearing the way for the confirmation in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Hagel, a Republican who had served as a U.S. senator, faced criticism from his former colleagues.

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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