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US military ready to use 'full force' if necessary: Hagel

Published on Jan 31, 2013 11:18 PM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama's pick to lead the Pentagon, Chuck Hagel, told senators Thursday he would not hesitate to use "the full force of the United States military" to defend America's security.

Seeking to counter accusations from some lawmakers that he is ready to appease US adversaries, Hagel said at his confirmation hearing that he wanted to keep America's armed forces the strongest in the world and was prepared to back military action when necessary.

"We will not hesitate to use the full force of the United States military in defence of our security," Hagel said in an opening statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"But we must also be smart, and more importantly wise, in how we employ all of our nation's great power." Hagel, who was wounded and decorated for his combat tour with an infantry unit in Vietnam, broke ranks with his fellow Republicans over the Iraq war and has come under fire for some statements and senate votes on Israel and Iran.

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