68 Facts About Chuck Hagel


Charles Timothy Hagel is an American military veteran and former politician who served as a United States senator from Nebraska from 1997 to 2009 and as the 24th United States secretary of defense from 2013 to 2015 in the Obama administration.


Chuck Hagel co-founded Vanguard Cellular, the primary source of his personal wealth, and served as president of the McCarthy Group, an investment banking firm, and CEO of American Information Systems Inc.


Chuck Hagel was reelected in 2002, but did not run in 2008.


On January 7,2013, President Barack Obama nominated Chuck Hagel to serve as Secretary of Defense.


Chuck Hagel took office on February 27,2013, as his predecessor, Leon Panetta, stepped down.


On November 24,2014, it was announced that Chuck Hagel would resign following conflicts within the administration, particularly relating to issues concerning ISIL.


Chuck Hagel was born in North Platte, Nebraska, a son of Charles Dean Chuck Hagel, and his wife Elizabeth Dunn.


Chuck Hagel's father was of German heritage, while his mother was of Irish and Polish ancestry.


Chuck Hagel graduated from St Bonaventure High School in Columbus, Nebraska, in 1964, attended Brown Institute for radio and TV through 1966, and earned a BGS degree with a concentration in history from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1971.


Chuck Hagel volunteered to be drafted into the United States Army during the Vietnam War, rejecting a draft board recommendation that he go to college instead.


Chuck Hagel served in the United States Army infantry in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968.


Chuck Hagel served in the same infantry squad as his younger brother Tom, and they are thought to be the only American brothers to have done so during the Vietnam War.


Chuck Hagel received the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, two Purple Hearts, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.


In 1971, Hagel was hired as a staffer for Congressman John Y McCollister, serving until 1977.


Chuck Hagel served as Chairman of the Agent Orange Settlement Fund and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


On March 15,1995, Chuck Hagel resigned from the board of AIS as he intended to run for office.


In 1996, Hagel ran for the open US Senate seat created by the retirement of Democrat J James Exon.


Chuck Hagel's opponent was Ben Nelson, then the sitting governor of Nebraska.


Chuck Hagel won and became the first Republican in twenty-four years to win a Senate seat in Nebraska.


Chuck Hagel co-sponsored the failed Kosovo Resolution, authorizing President Bill Clinton the use of US military force against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.


In July 2007, Chuck Hagel was one of three Republican senators who supported Democratic-proposed legislation requiring a troop withdrawal from Iraq to begin within 120 days.


Chuck Hagel voted to establish the United States Department of Homeland Security, and supported increasing Defense Department spending, voting in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act every year he served in the Senate.


In 2007, Chuck Hagel introduced Senate Amendment 2032, amending the Defense Authorization bill limiting the deployment of US service members serving in Iraq 12 months.


Chuck Hagel voted in favor of Senate Amendment 2022, restoring habeas corpus, the right to due process, to American citizens detained at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, but voted against a similar resolution restoring it to all prisoners detained at Guantanamo.


Chuck Hagel supported the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 and, with Senator Bob Menendez proposed an amendment to allow immigration authorities to consider family-unification petitions submitted by people for an additional two years, which would have allowed approximately estimated 833,000 additional individuals to seek permanent residency.


In January 2007, Chuck Hagel openly criticized President Bush's plan to send an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq.


Chuck Hagel was rumored to be a possible running mate for vice president for then Senator Barack Obama, in his 2008 presidential campaign.


On June 20,2008, Chuck Hagel said he would consider running with Obama if offered the VP spot, though he added that he did not believe that Obama would pick him for the position.


On September 10,2007, Chuck Hagel announced that he would retire and not seek a third term.


Chuck Hagel remains the last person to serve two full terms in Nebraska's Class 2 Senate seat.


Chuck Hagel believes that the Iraq War is one of the five biggest blunders in US history.


Chuck Hagel identifies with Ronald Reagan's nuclear disarmament policies and was an initial signatory to the Global Zero campaign which advocates the international elimination of nuclear weaponry.


Chuck Hagel served on the board of the Ploughshares Fund, which pursues the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and seeks to prevent their use.


In 2010, Chuck Hagel endorsed Democratic Pennsylvania congressman Joe Sestak in his run for the United States Senate.


President Obama nominated Chuck Hagel to succeed Leon Panetta and serve as his second term Secretary of Defense on January 7,2013.


Chuck Hagel, who became, upon confirmation, the first former enlisted combat soldier to hold the office of Secretary of Defense, was interviewed by the Senate Armed Services Committee during a seven-and-a-half-hour hearing on January 31,2013.


Chuck Hagel has been criticized by the American Jewish Committee for an incident in 1999 where he was the only senator not to sign an open letter to Russian President Boris Yeltsin threatening to cut aid to Russia if it did not take action against rising anti-Semitism in the country.


Chuck Hagel was criticized by The Christian Science Monitor and many Republicans, including senator John McCain, for opposing some sanctions against Iran, and for calling for dialogue with Iran and Hamas.


On January 24,2013, Senator Jeanne Shaheen stated that Chuck Hagel will oppose restrictions on LGBT military family benefits.


The New York Times reported that the media campaign opposing Chuck Hagel's appointment was financed by new groups including a conservative group, Americans for a Strong Defense and a gay rights group, Use Your Mandate.


Defenses of Chuck Hagel have included opinion pieces by writers Amy Davidson, Thomas Friedman, and Robert Wright, with Wright objecting to what he called "McCarthyite" smears against Chuck Hagel.


Chuck Hagel said he supported President Obama's drawing down troops in Afghanistan and said he would do "everything possible under current law" to support gay and women service members equal benefits and combat roles.


Senator Ted Cruz played video excerpts from a 2009 Al Jazeera interview and asserted that Chuck Hagel had agreed with a caller who suggested that Israel had committed war crimes.


Senate Committee chair Carl Levin said the demands were unprecedented, asking "for information no prior nominee has been asked for," and expressed confidence Chuck Hagel would be approved by the Senate.


Chuck Hagel was sworn in on February 27,2013, taking over from Leon Panetta.


In May 2013, during a visit to Asian countries whose "main doubt" was American staying power in the region, Chuck Hagel called the decline of American military power a "good thing", because it forced American allies to share responsibilities.


On July 31,2013, Chuck Hagel announced the results of his Strategic Choices and Management Review, undertaken in response to the budget sequestration in 2013.


Chuck Hagel has pushed National Guard leadership to provide benefits for same-sex domestic partnerships, as directed by the Department of Defense.


Chuck Hagel called for more international cooperation to protect the Arctic's environment and to keep the region "peaceful, stable and free of conflict".


In several phone calls with the Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu Chuck Hagel expressed deep concerns about Russian military activities near the Ukrainian border and called for an end of any "destabilizing influence inside Ukraine".


Chuck Hagel was assured by Shoygu that the Russian army would not invade Ukraine.


In May 2014, speaking at the Wilson Center on the future of NATO, Chuck Hagel focused on the alliance's imbalance in defense spending and called for "renewed financial commitments from all NATO members".


Chuck Hagel was not insensitive to the European dependence on Russian natural gas and consequent exposure to "Russia's coercive energy policies".


Chuck Hagel was instrumental in formulating the 2014 NATO Wales summit declaration, in which the Allies agreed to increase their defence expenditures.


On November 24,2014, The New York Times reported that Hagel would be resigning from his position as Secretary of Defense under pressure from the Obama administration, in particular because of a dispute with NSA Advisor Susan E Rice over Syria policy.


The administration under Chuck Hagel's watch had struggled to articulate a strategy to defeat ISIL in both Iraq and Syria.


Chuck Hagel did not deny rumors that Obama asked for his resignation, but he explicitly contended that it was a "mutual decision" between him and President Obama.


Senator John McCain offered his own insight: Chuck Hagel was frustrated with the White House decision-making process, national security policy, and "excessive micromanagement" within the White House.


In December 2015, during an interview with Foreign Policy, Chuck Hagel stated he was "backstabbed" and accused Obama administration officials of making anonymous comments after his resignation in an effort to destroy his reputation.


Chuck Hagel continued in post until the confirmation of his successor, Ash Carter, in February 2015.


In 2001, Chuck Hagel was awarded the Horatio Alger Award for Distinguished Americans.


Chuck Hagel was granted the title of Nebraska Admiral by Nebraska's governor, an honorary title, considering Nebraska is a landlocked state.


Chuck Hagel was the featured speaker at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Chemistry Council at Colorado Springs.


Chuck Hagel has two younger brothers: Thomas, a professor at the University of Dayton School of Law, and Michael, an artist resident in Omaha, Nebraska.


Chuck Hagel was raised in the Roman Catholic faith, but converted to Episcopalianism.


Chuck Hagel married his second wife, Lilibet Ziller, in April 1985.


Chuck Hagel gave back a portion of his salary for the 2013 fiscal year in solidarity with his department's workers who were facing 14 days of furloughs.


Chuck Hagel is a member of the ReFormers Caucus of Issue One.