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Jan 08, 2013, 01.31 PM IST | Source: PTI

Obama nominates Hagel as Defence Secy, Brennan as CIA chief

Obama nominates Hagel as Defence Secy, Brennan as CIA chief

Washington, Jan 7 (PTI) US President Barack Obama today named former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as his next Defence Secretary, and also nominated his counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan, who was involved in the planning of the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, as the new CIA chief. Obama, while nominating Hagel, praised his "willingness to speak his mind" and said that Hagel "understands that America stands strongest when we stand with allies and with friends." If confirmed by the Senate, 66-year-old Hagel would replace, Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta. Brennan, a former CIA analyst and CIA station head in Saudi Arabia before he joined the 2008 Obama Campaign and then his administration, would replace Gen (rtd) David Petraeus, who resigned last year citing extra-marital affairs. Obama, while nominating Brennan as the new director of the CIA, praised him, saying, "John is legendary even in the White House." With today's announcement, Obama has made three top nominations to his national security team. Before Christmas, Obama had nominated Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as his next Secretary of State, to replace Hillary Clinton. In his capacity as the Defence Secretary, Hagel would not only have to face the challenge of budgetary cuts, but also end the war in Afghanistan, and play an important role in Asia-Pacific defence posture of the US. Currently Chairperson of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board Incumbent, Hagel is familiar with the ground realties of South Asia. As Nebraska Senator for two terms from 1997 to 2009, Hagel was member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, frequently travelled to South Asia and voted in favour of the historic India-US civilian nuclear deal. "I think strategically it represents one of the most thoughtful new approaches to foreign policy in maybe 25 years," Hagel told reporters in New Delhi during his trip to India in April 2006. MORE PTI LKJ ASK ASK

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