Bipartisan National Security Tradition Upheld by Kerry, Hagel and Shinseki

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and nominated by President Obama to serve as Secretary of State, stands foursquare in a bipartisan national security tradition that has served America well for generations.

Former Secretary of State, National Security Adviser, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Army Gen. Colin Powell stands solidly in this bipartisan tradition.

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), nominated by President Obama to serve as Secretary of Defense, whom Powell correctly called “superbly qualified,” and who is currently chairman of the Atlantic Council and co-chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, similarly stands with this bipartisan security tradition.

It is important, and profound, that Hagel is strongly supported by so many former officials who served President Reagan and other Republican presidents and so many senior retired military officers, former U.S. ambassadors to Israel and leading diplomats who served presidents of both parties.

Hagel is supported by senior retired military leaders including: Gen. Michael Hayden, who served as CIA director under President George W. Bush; Adm. William Fallon, former commander of U.S. Central Command; Gen. Anthony Zinni, former commander, U.S. Central Command; Adm. Robert Natter, former commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; Lt. Gen. Dan Christman, former superintendent, U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Gen. James Jones, former national security adviser; and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander in Afghanistan.

At the core of the spirit of national-security bipartisanship is a powerful commitment to support active-duty troops, military families and veterans. From the war bond campaigns of the 1940s to the good works being done throughout the nation today, this spirit is the core of Americanism. Hagel has strong support in communities serving veterans and military families, whose causes he has championed for a lifetime alongside Gen. Powell, Sen. Kerry and countless others.

The prospect of a Secretary of State Kerry, Secretary of Defense Hagel and Gen. Eric Shinseki as secretary of Veterans Affairs would bring to the Cabinet extraordinary war experience, combat heroism and support for troops and military families that would inform all military, diplomatic and veterans-related decisions by the president.

Kerry possesses a depth of diplomatic and military experience and an ability to reach to friends across the aisles and contacts across the globe. He could become a Secretary of State reminiscent of Gen. George Marshall, who served President Truman. I strongly agree with Powell that Hagel will be an outstanding secretary of Defense and have no doubt that Hagel’s combination of support for diplomacy, when possible, and willingness to use sanctions or force when necessary will be apparent during confirmation hearings.

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