During the January 31 confirmation hearing, Panetta said, “I think he’s got good experience with regards to public service. He understands the issues of the Defense Department. I think he’ll be a great secretary of defense.”
(Click Here, to read about Hagel facing a Senate panel as part of his confirmation hearing.)
Panetta also said the Senate should be focusing on real issues such as the war on terrorism, impending sequestration, the Middle East turmoil, and cyberattacks.
Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said that Hagel is “well-prepared and very thoughtful on strategic issues about the service men and women in Afghanistan.”
Dempsey said he wouldn’t by principle criticize a “potential boss,” but added “I think he’s got great credentials. My personal contacts with him have been very positive. And if he’s confirmed, I look forward to working with him.”
Dempsey, like Panetta, urged the committee to focus on pressing matters for the U.S. military.
“I’m always concerned when Afghanistan isn’t prominent in any conversation we’re having as Americans, because we’ve got 68,000 young men and women serving there,” Dempsey said.