Several members of Chuck Hagel’s transition team, all of them potential staffers in a Hagel-led Pentagon, watched the confirmation intently from the front rows of the public seating, on Thursday.
In the center seat was Marcel Lettre
, Hagel’s transition team director. Also in the room were Elizabeth King
, assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs; Eric Rosenbach
, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber; Eric Lynn
, Middle East senior advisor; and Mike Stella
, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Senate affairs. With them sat Lt. Col. Ethan Griffin
, military assistant to the transition team; Dr. Anand Veeravagu
, a White House fellow; and Carl Woog, assistant press secretary at the Pentagon.
, Hagel’s press point-of-contact through the White House, worked the packed press tables, while Pentagon press secretary George Little
held down the fort back across the Potomac.
So who will stay and who will go, when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
hands over the keys?
“All of these defense leaders, some of whom have known Senator Hagel for years, others for less time, have earned the respect of Senator Hagel and may very well become part of his core team, if confirmed," a senior defense official told the E-Ring
Also notable, former Sens. John Warner
(R-VA) and Sam Nunn
(D-GA) introduced and vouched for Hagel, giving the nominee strong bipartisan cover from elder statesmen that few would choose to argue with. Warner nodded along with Sen. Bill Nelson
(D-FL) as he reminded the committee that Iraq was sold on false information it had weapons of mass destruction, in what was a rebuttal to Sen. John McCain
(R-AZ), who attempted to draw Hagel into a debate over the Iraq surge.
Hagel had more support from fellow veterans Gen. Jim Jones
, former national security advisor, and former Sen. Max Cleland
(D-GA), a Vietnam veteran who succeeded Nunn in the Senate seat from Georgia.
, a former Hagel foreign policy staffer and former head of the International Institute for Strategic Studies-U.S. office, also was spotted.