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Hagel pledges readiness to use 'full force' of U.S. military

By Bloomberg News

This article was published January 31, 2013 at 11:10 a.m.

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Former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, left, President Barack Obama's choice for defense secretary, greets former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, center, after arriving on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination.

— Chuck Hagel pledged to maintain the world’s strongest military, stand by Israel and prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons as he fought to win confirmation as President Barack Obama’s next secretary of defense.

“We will not hesitate to use the full force of the United States military in defense of our security,” the Vietnam War veteran said in prepared remarks for a hearing today before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “But we must also be smart, and more importantly wise, in how we employ all of our nation’s great power.”

The former Republican senator from Nebraska is confronting skepticism and outright opposition Thursday from members of his own party, who have questioned his support for Israel, his enthusiasm for tough sanctions on Iran and his willingness to shield the defense budget from sharp spending cuts.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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