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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), ranking member on the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, today voted for the confirmation of former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) to be the next U.S. Secretary of Defense, calling him “a fair, intelligent and courageous leader of good character and integrity.”

The Senate voted 58-41to confirm Hagel.  Earlier today, 17 Republican Senators voted with Cochran to end debate on the nomination of Hagel, who was selected on Jan. 22 to fill the void left by the retirement of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. 

Cochran said in a statement for the Congressional Record that he looks forward to working with Hagel to ensure the safety and security of the United States and its interests around the world.

“Chuck Hagel feels strongly that the United States should be the most capable military power in the world.  He also believes the United States must continue to be committed to Israel's security and its ability to defend its borders,” Cochran said.

“At a time when our adversaries continue to increase their arsenals of rockets and missiles and to develop medium and long range ballistic missiles that threaten our security, the security of our deployed forces, and the security of our friends and allies, it is imperative that we continue to develop, field and maintain a robust missile defense capability.  I know Senator Hagel is supportive of these efforts, and I will be pleased to join with him in further advancing these priorities,” he said.

“Throughout his distinguished career in public service, Senator Hagel has proven himself to be a fair, intelligent and courageous leader of good character and integrity,” he concluded.

Cochran has been a staunch supporter of Israel and has supported numerous efforts over several decades to help ensure the peace and security of Israel.  The Senator has been a strong advocate for the development of technologies to defend Israel from missile and rocket attacks.  He has helped push through Congress legislation providing funding for Israeli missile defense programs, including the Iron Dome missile defense system that recently received attention for intercepting a vast majority of rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip.

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