Rockefeller, Manchin comment on nominations

PARKERSBURG – A West Virginia lawmaker is supporting a former senator for U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Charles Hagel of Nebraska had a distinguished military career dealing with intelligence and military issues, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said on Monday.

“As a war hero and Vietnam veteran, he understands firsthand the needs of our troops on the ground,” Rockefeller said.

Hagel, a Republican who served with Rockefeller on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was nominated by President Obama to succeed Leon Panetta as defense secretary. Obama also nominated John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Hagel, who served two terms from Nebraska, is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War.

“Chuck also led a very successful company for 15 years, and this type of management experience coupled with his extensive knowledge of intelligence issues would be invaluable at the Pentagon, particularly as we work to get the nation’s budget and the Defense Department’s budget under control in smart, targeted ways,” Rockefeller said.

Rockefeller encouraged the Senate to act quickly to approve Hagel.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also issued a statement on the nominations of Hagel and Brennan, saying the president “like any elected executive – should have the utmost consideration in putting a staff together, and I intend to do that.”

“I haven’t met or spoken with either Sen. Hagel or Mr. Brennan, but both of these men have served our country with honor and distinction. I look forward to talking with them, hearing their views and giving their nominations my full consideration,” Manchin said. “In particular, I am eager for the Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearings to take place, because I will have the opportunity to ask West Virginians’ common sense questions about how we can make our country and our world safer.”