Hagel, Chuck

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Hagel, Chuck

Chuck Hagel (Charles Timothy Hagel), 1946–, U.S. politician and government official, b. North Platte, Nebr. He served (1967–68) in the infantry in the Vietnam War, receiving several decorations. After returning home and graduating (1971) from the Univ. of Nebraska, he began a business career, cofounding a cellular phone company, heading an investment banking firm, and participating in other ventures. A Republican, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 and served two terms. He voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq but came to regard that war as a dangerous mistake. Subsequently, he was chairman of a Washington think-tank and a professor at Georgetown Univ.'s foreign service school. In 2013, President Obama appointed him to succeed Leon Panetta as secretary of defense, but he was ultimately forced out of the post and left the office in 2015.

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