FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with his choice for Defense Secretary, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, after announcing Hagel's nomination in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Hagel secured the backing of Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Barbara Boxer of California, two of the staunchest pro-Israel Senate Democrats, in a clear boost to the Republican's prospects of becoming President Barack Obama's next defense secretary. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
Washington - Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama's nominee to become the next U.S. defense secretary, will face his Senate confirmation hearing on January 31, the Senate Armed Services Committee said in a statement on Wednesday.
The announcement comes a day after Hagel's nomination won a critical boost when two leading Senate Democrats voiced their support for him and said his private assurances had eased their concerns over his positions on Israel, Iran and other issues. - Reuters