After a lengthy battle in the Senate, Chuck Hagel was confirmed as U.S. Defense Secretary on Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Hagel drew substantial resistance from Republicans opposed to his staunch criticism of the Bush administration. He was confirmed with the lowest margin of support for any confirmed cabinet nominee since 2007, with 58 members of the Senate approving him.
Hagel will soon potentially be forced to bear the brunt of potentially devastating defense cuts as a result of the sequester.
Earlier in the confirmation process, Hagel faced what could have been the first-ever filibuster of a cabinet nominee in the modern era. He has vowed to work closely with the Congress that heavily opposed him.
Hagel will oversee the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan within the next year, and will respond to gripes about the president’s use of drone aircraft.
The president called his confirmation “bipartisan,” and a victory.