President Barack Obama nominated Hagel Jan. 7, 2013, to serve as Secretary of Defense. Feb. 12, 2013, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved Hagel’s nomination by a vote of 14-11. Feb. 14, 2013, Senate Republicans denied Democrats the 60 votes needed to end the debate on Hagel’s nomination and proceed to a final vote, citing the need for further review. It was the first time in American history that a nominee for Secretary of Defense was filibustered, although candidates for other cabinet offices have been filibustered before.
Feb. 26, 2013, the Senate voted for cloture on Hagel’s nomination and confirmed his nomination by a vote of 58-41. He took office Feb. 27, 2013, as his predecessor Leon Panetta stepped down.
Hagel previously served as a professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, chairman of the Atlantic Council, and co-chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. Before his appointment as Secretary of Defense, Hagel served on a number of boards of directors, including that of Chevron Corporation.