The Senate voted 58-41 Tuesday to confirm Chuck Hagel as the next defense secretary and will be sworn into office Wednesday, Reuters reports.
Patricia Zengerle writes that four Republicans supported Hagel’s nomination along with all Democrats and independents in the Senate.
Hagel will assume office as the Pentagon is preparing for the possibility of sequestration budget cuts scheduled to take effect Friday.
The Defense Department may have to cut $46 billion over the next seven months from its fiscal year 2013 budget, according to the report.
That cut would come on top off the $487 billion the Pentagon already has to cut over the next decade, Zengerle reports.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Hagel will also be responsible for overseeing U.S. withdrawal of soldiers from Afghanistan and responding to terrorist threats in North Africa, among other areas.