Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary: The Jury’s Still Out

Mike O'Brien

Chuck Hagel’s nomination as Defense Secretary caused something of a stir back in January.

Many on Capitol Hill believed he would be too soft on Iran and questioned statements he had made in the past over Israel.

On February 12, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved Mr. Hagel's nomination by a vote of 14-11. However, two days later, Senate Republicans denied Democrats the 60 votes needed to end the debate on Hagel's nomination and proceed to a final vote, citing the need for further review.

It was the first time in American history that a nominee for Secretary of Defense was filibustered.

Despite all the political wrangling, Mr. Hagel finally took office on February 27 and became the 24th U.S. Secretary of Defense.

After nearly six months in the job, how has he performed? Has he proved to be the lightweight his critics claimed he was at the start of the year?

We carried out our own survey to get our readers assessment of Mr. Hagel, and got a very mixed response.

We asked "What is your opinion of Chuck Hagel’s first months as Defense Secretary?"

Readers had to choose from four responses: Satisfied; No Opinion; Not Satisfied; Disaster.

The next question was to explain each response.

Here are a few responses we selected:

#1 Disaster

He was from the KGB and not from the United-States.

#2 Disaster

Putting women with men in combat situations, and then expecting emotional self control between them.

#3 Satisfied

He is making leaders be accountable. A family lost their toddler in an Army urgent care room and he saw the big picture, ordering the Army to devise a grief support program after trauma. It's long overdue.

#4 Satisfied


He was handed a most difficult situation. He understands the important role uniform forces and civilians play in defending our nation.

#5 Satisfied


(Respondent skipped this question)

#6 Not Satisfied

Focuses exclusively on budgets at the expense of readiness, morale, and weapon systems. There are opportunities for efficiencies in the military services but this requires a strong leader who is not afraid of Congress and service leaders. He appears to lack the ability to make the tough, sound decisions focused on future operations, preparedness, and national defense - not sacrificing these to meet Congress' inability to manage economics.

#7 Not Satisfied

Favors the contractors more than the troops

#8 No Opinion

He hasn't said anything stupid since he took office.

#9 Satisfied

At least an ex-vet hasn't started another war. The problem are all these "macho" bureaucrats that think they are tough by sending troops in somewhere. At least when you've been there you will think twice.

#10 No Opinion

Not enough time to evaluate

#11 Not Satisfied

He is not a true leader.

What do you think of Mr. Hagel’s first six months in office? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below.