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Chuck Hagel for DOD

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The latest endorsement received by former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense comes from four former national security advisers: Brent Scowcroft, James L. Jones, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Frank Carlucci. This quartet of national security leaders has served presidents of both parties, including Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and Democratic Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Hagel is one of the finest people I have ever known in public life, along with President Obama's excellent nominee to be Secretary of State, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

Hagel (R-Neb.) embodies the highest American ideal of service: service in war, service in peace, service in government, service in military life and service in civilian life, as well as a powerful lifetime commitment to go many extra miles supporting those who wear the uniform and their families at home.

He is a man who knows war, having served courageously in Vietnam, and who knows the world, having been involved in global diplomatic, military and security issues for a generation.

Hagel's expertise ranges from combat experience and military strategy to diplomatic skill and intelligence matters both operational and analytical.

Hagel is a devoted, fierce, passionate and untiring champion of wounded warriors and veterans causes of all kinds. When the phrase "band of brothers" is used, Hagel is one of the true brothers. His commitment to helping troops and military families is boundless.

Hagel knows how to wage war, how to win wars, how to end wars and how to avoid wars that may be unwise. This is why Hagel wins such strong support from national security advisers who served previous administrations, and from a number of leading retired military commanders and former U.S. ambassadors to Israel.

He is a public servant of rock-solid integrity who would be highly qualified to be Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Director of National Intelligence or any other high-level position essential to protecting our nation. I believe it is particularly important that Obama ignore the dishonest campaign of defamation and disinformation that is being run, mostly by neoconservatives who know far less about war than Hagel, who have far less experience in war than Hagel and who are far less skilled than Hagel at both winning wars that should be fought and avoiding wars that should not be fought.

While I am pleased beyond description that Obama named the man he correctly called the perfect choice to be Secretary of State, John Kerry, I have argued strongly that some of the attacks levied against United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice were grossly unfair to her. With similar unfair attacks being made against Hagel, the more firmly the president rejects these attacks, the better.

I would bet anyone in Washington that Hagel would be confirmed by a large majority of senators if he is nominated to be secretary of Defense.

Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense would bring immense confidence in the capitals of America's allies around the world, and great enthusiasm from veterans and military families throughout America who know him well, and trust him greatly.

A version of this column was originally published at The Hill.

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