Pentagon helps Sec Def nominee prepare for confirmation hearings

WASHINGTON – Decorated Army veteran Chuck Hagel might be in for a bruising confirmation fight in the Senate over positions that opponents characterize as “out of the mainstream,” but he’s been getting support – nutritional and otherwise – from the Pentagon.

Hagel dined with current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Monday at the Pentagon, hours after the nomination was announced, Pentagon press secretary George Little said Tuesday. Instead of Italian food, Panetta’s normal preference, the menu for the former Nebraska senator had a Midwestern theme, Little said – corn chowder, filet mignon and chocolate cake.

The Pentagon has also arranged for a team of advisers to help bring Hagel up to speed for the looming confirmation process, Little said.

“As is customary, Secretary Panetta has authorized a joint military and civilian transition team that will provide support for the confirmation process,” he said, including providing office space and briefings on Pentagon operations and budgets.



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