The Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to vote on Tuesday on the President’s nomination of former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next Defense Secretary, succeeding Leon Panetta. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), SASC chairman, announced on Monday that he planned to bring up the nomination for consideration on Feb. 12, reported the Detroit Free Press. Hagel’s nomination has been controversial, with some Republican committee members threatening to walk out of the vote in protest. SASC Ranking Member Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) is among those who has been resisting a vote until Hagel discloses more financial information. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), for his part, has demanded more transparency from the White House on the deadly US consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya, last September, before a vote. However, Levin on Feb. 8 wrote Inhofe, saying demands for additional disclosure information “far exceed” the committee’s standard practices and “go far beyond” the disclosure required of previous Defense Secretaries. Committee member Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in a statement on Monday he thinks Hagel “has fulfilled” the committee’s disclosure requirements and a vote should proceed to determine whether the nomination moves to the Senate floor. “I will not participate in any walkout of tomorrow’s committee vote,” said McCain.
The White House announced its United States Space Priorities Framework in a document released concurrently with Vice President Kamala Harris' first National Space Council meeting. Listed among five U.S. priorities is to “defend its national security interests from the growing scope and scale of space and counterspace threats.”