(CNN) - Just hours after President Barack Obama's formal nomination of Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense, Hagel joined current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the Pentagon for dinner.
In Tuesday afternoon's briefing, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little reaffirmed Panetta's support for the former senator from Nebraska. When asked for details on the dinner between Panetta and Hagel, Little tried side stepping with a listing of the dinner's menu that included "corn chowder, filet mignon, and chocolate cake."
(CNN) – President Barack Obama said Monday he will nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican, to become Defense Secretary and tapped his chief counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Hagel will be a "champion" for members of America's military, Obama said in announcing the former Nebraska senator as his choice to succeed Leon Panetta as secretary of defense.
(CNN) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Sunday labeled Mitt Romney’s attacks on the withdrawal strategy in Afghanistan “campaign rhetoric” and defended the 2014 drawdown date.
“I think you know without getting into the campaign rhetoric of what he’s asserting, I think you’ve got 50 nations in NATO that agree to a plan in Afghanistan,” Panetta said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It's the Lisbon agreement, an agreement that, you know, others, President Bush, President Obama, everyone has agreed is the direction that we go in in Afghanistan."
(CNN) – Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich on Friday called on Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to resign, rebuking him for telling a congressional panel that the U.S. would “seek international permission” before intervening in the ongoing bloodshed in Syria.
“I have been told that the secretary of defense has suggested that international agreements override the Congress,” Gingrich told supporters in Gulfport, Mississippi. “If he believes that, he should resign tonight.”
Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) – Mitt Romney swept into Nevada on Wednesday evening and sharply criticized Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta for declaring that the United States and NATO plan to end combat operations in Afghanistan sometime in 2013.
Romney said the public announcement jeopardizes the Afghanistan mission and “our commitments to freedom.”
Washington (CNN) – Deep disagreements surfaced on Capitol Hill Tuesday over whether the United States has moved too quickly to withdraw troops from Iraq.
The Obama administration will withdraw all U.S. military personnel by the end of the year, after negotiations with Iraq broke down last month over leaving behind a small force for training and security. Some 30,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq now, and only a small number of U.S. military will remain behind, attached to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.FULL STORY
(CNN) - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warns that excessive partisanship could well "hollow out" the military, saying "we cannot tolerate" if Congress fails to reach an accord on debt reduction and thereby triggers hundreds of billions of dollars in across-the-board cuts.
Speaking with CNN's Erin Burnett in an interview that aired Monday on the first edition of her program "OutFront," Panetta said that he was prepared to slash about $450 billion from the defense budget over the next decade, as currently mandated. But he described as potentially dangerous any deeper cuts, like the $1.2 trillion that would be unavoidable if a bipartisan panel does not reach a debt-reduction accord in the coming weeks that is then passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama.FULL STORY
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen have certified that the U.S. military is prepared to accept openly gay and lesbian service members, and that doing so will not harm military readiness, the White House announced Friday.
Under a bill passed last year that set up a process for repealing the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy, all three men needed to sign a certification confirming the military's ability to move forward with the integration of openly gay and lesbian troops.
Washington (CNN) - The Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to CIA Director Leon Panetta's nomination to become defense secretary when Robert Gates steps down at the end of June.
Panetta's approval on a unanimous 100-0 vote was widely expected after the former congressman and Clinton administration official received bipartisan support during his confirmation hearing earlier this monthFULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - The Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday endorsed Leon Panetta's nomination to become defense secretary when Robert Gates steps down at the end of June.
A brief statement from committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin's office said a unanimous voice vote sent Panetta's nomination to the full Senate for consideration. Committee approval was widely expected after Panetta, the current CIA director, received bipartisan support during last week's confirmation hearing.FULL STORY