The Republican National Committee has sent out this background brief titled, "Chuck Hagel Is The Wrong Choice For Secretary Of Defense."


Supports Sequestration Cuts That Obama’s Outgoing Defense Secretary Warns Will “Devastate Our National Security”

Asked About The “Dire Consequences” To National Security Should Sequestration Go Into Effect, Hagel Said The Defense Budget Was “Bloated” And “The Pentagon Needs To Be Pared Down.” QUESTION: “On this Joint Committee that’s being created, Leon Panetta, our Defense Secretary, has warned of really dire consequences to U.S. national security if this so-called trigger gets pulled, in which case we would see $600 billion in automatic cuts to the Defense Department. Do you agree with his assessment that that would be very harmful to national security.” HAGEL: “Defense Department, I think, in many ways, has been bloated. So I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down. I don’t think that our military has really looked at themselves strategically, critically, in a long, long time.” (Chuck Hagel, Interview With The Financial Times, 9/1/11)

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Testified In 2012 That Sequestration “Guarantees That We Are Going To Hollow The Force And Devastate Our National Security.” DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: “And let me tell you something if sequester goes into effect, you can throw all of this out the window. Sequester doubles the numbers of cuts, does it through that crazy formula, and guarantees that we are going to hollow the force and devastate our national security.” (Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Subcommittee On Defense, Appropriations Committee, U.S. House Of Representatives, Testimony, 2/16/12)

Panetta: “It’s Not Something, Frankly, That Anybody Who Is Responsible Ought To Put Into Effect.” DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: “It’s a nutty formula, and it’s goofy to begin with, and it’s not something, frankly, that anybody who is responsible ought to put into effect.” (Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Budget Committee, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 2/28/12)

Opposition To Missile Defense

In 2000, Hagel Crossed Party Lines To Endorse President Clinton’s Decision To “Not Deploy A Limited National Missile Defense System.” “World leaders from Europe to Asia welcomed President Bill Clinton’s September 1 announcement that he would not deploy a limited national missile defense (NMD) system, but the response from U.S. politicians was mixed. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) crossed party lines by also endorsing the president’s decision, stating that a missile defense ‘cannot develop in a vacuum’ and ‘must move forward on four parallel tracks—technology, Congress, our allies, and the Russians.’”(Wade Boese, “Clinton’s NMD Decision Welcomed Abroad, Reactions,” Arms Control Association, Accessed 12/6/12)

In 2009, Hagel Led The Commission On U.S. Policy Toward Russia Which Issued A Report Advocating That America “Rethink Missile Defense Deployments In Poland And The Czech Republic And See A Cooperative Approach To The Threat From Iranian Missiles.” “The Commission on U.S. Policy Toward Russia, led by former Sens. Gary Hart (D-CO) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE), issued a report last week that advocates teaming with Russia to deal with Iran and bolster international nonproliferation. America should rethink missile defense deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic and seek a cooperative approach to the threat from Iranian missiles, the panel says. The report advocates accepting that neither Ukraine nor Georgia is ready for NATO membership and working closely with U.S. allies to develop options other than NATO membership to demonstrate a commitment to their sovereignty. U.S. and Russian officials must also launch serious arms control talks, the panel argues.” (“Pentagon Policy Shop UPS Focus On Key Threats, Russian Relations,” Inside Missile Defense, 3/25/09)

Wrong On Nuclear Arms

Hagel: “We Must Eventually Eliminate Nuclear Weapons.” HAGEL: “We must eventually eliminate nuclear weapons because if we do not, there is only one course that can possible come out of efforts by other nations besides the nine now nuclear weapons nations, to attain those weapons.” (Al-Jazeera’s “Riz Khan,” 3/21/09)

Hagel Has Worked With The Anti-Nuclear Organization Global Zero And Has Advocated “Sharply Reducing The Number Of U.S. Nuclear Weapons, Possibly Without Equivalent Cuts By Russia.” “Chuck Hagel, the likely next secretary of defense, would be the first to enter the Pentagon having publicly advocated for sharply reducing the number of U.S. nuclear weapons, possibly without equivalent cuts by Russia. He supports an international movement called Global Zero that favors eliminating all nuclear weapons.” (Robert Burns, “Hagel Supports Nuclear Arms Cuts, Then Elimination,” The Associated Press , 1/30/13)

Hagel Co-Authored Global Zero’s 2012 Report Which Claimed “There Is No Conceivable Situation In The Contemporary World In Which It Would Be In Either Country's National Security Interest To Initiate A Nuclear Attack Against The Other Side.” “The authors, who also include former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, former ambassadors Richard Burt and Thomas Pickering and retired Gen. Jack Sheehan and Global Zero co-founder Bruce Blair, argue that the deterrent from enormous nuclear arsenals that were critical in the Cold War standoff between the United States and Russia add no strategic value to address current threats. ‘There is no conceivable situation in the contemporary world in which it would be in either country's national security interest to initiate a nuclear attack against the other side,’ the report says. At a time of tight defense spending, the authors also estimate that the cuts would save the U.S. $100 billion over a decade.” (Desmond Butler, “Panel Calls For Steep Cuts In US Nukes,” The Associated Press , 5/16/12)


A Long History Of Opposing Sanctions

In July 2008, The Senate Banking, Housing, And Urban Affairs Committee Approved A Bill That Would “Impose Sanctions On Independent Foreign Subsidiaries Of U.S. Companies That Do Business With Iran.” “A bill to impose sanctions on independent foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies that do business with Iran won strong bipartisan support from the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today in the wake of Iranian insistence on developing nuclear materials. … Approved 19-2, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act would add financial institutions and insurers to the list of entities subject to sanctions and would statutorily ban all U.S. exports to Iran except food, medicine and humanitarian items.” (Charlene Carter, “Senate Banking Committee Approves Sanctions Against Iran,” CongressNow, 7/17/08)

Hagel Voted Against The Bill And Said, “This Bill Does Not In Fact Sanction Iran; It Directly Sanctions Allies, Friends And Others.” “Sens. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., cast the only ‘no’ votes against the new bill. ‘This bill does not in fact sanction Iran; it directly sanctions allies, friends and others,’ Hagel said.” (Adam Graham-Silverman, “Options Dwindling For Congress To Negotiate A Deal On Iran Sanctions,” Congressional Quarterly, 7/17/08)

In October 2008, Hagel Blocked Action On A Similar Bill That Had Passed by Voice Vote In The House. “‘Whether we like it or not, there will be no peace or stability in the Middle East without Iran's participation,’ Hagel said. In early October, he prevented action on a bill, which had passed in the House, proposing economic sanctions against Iran. Hagel has long criticized unilateral sanctions as ineffective and counterproductive.” (Connie Bruck, “Odd Man Out; Chuck Hagel's Republican Exile,” The New Yorker, 11/3/08; H.R. 7112, Received In The Senate On 9/27/08)

Hagel Was Reportedly “Solely Responsible” For Blocking An Iran Sanctions Bill In 2008. “If, given the prevailing political winds on Iran, it sounds strange that Republicans would have blocked a get-tough measure on the Islamic Republic -- there’s an explanation. According to a congressional aide who spoke on background to the Huffington Post, Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel is solely responsible for the hold on the bill. (Request for confirmation from Hagel’s press office was not immediately returned.)” (Seth Colter Walls, “Dems Blame Senate GOP For Blocking Iran Sanctions Bill,” The Huffington Post, 11/3/08)

In 2001, Hagel “Denounced U.S. Sanctions Against Iran And Libya.” “On June 27, 2001, however, Mr. Hagel, addressing another AIC [American Iranian Council] gathering in Washington, denounced U.S. sanctions against Iran and Libya, asserting that they ‘isolate us.’” (Editorial, “Iran And Its Apologists,” The Washington Times, 3/29/02)

Hagel Was One Of Just Two Senators To Vote Against The ILSA Extension Act Of 2001, Which Provided For A Five-Year Extension Of Sanctions Against Iran And Libya. (S. 1218, CQ Vote #252: Passed 96-2: R 47-2; D 48-0; I 1-0, 7/25/01, Hagel Voted Nay)

In 2003, Hagel Did Not Vote On The Syria Accountability Act That Sanctioned Syria For Its Support For Terrorism And Development Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction. (H.R. 1828, CQ Vote #445: Passed 89-4: R 47-2; D 42-1; I 0-1, 11/11/03, Hagel Did Not Vote)

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