(Washington, DC)  --  The Senate has confirmed Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.  The vote was 58-41. 

Hagel is a former Republican senator from Nebraska and a decorated Vietnam War veteran. 

Democrats called Hagel eminently qualified to lead the armed forces.  Republicans slowed Hagel's path to the Pentagon, questioning some of his past statements and votes on Iraq, Iran and Israel. 

Hagel replaces Leon Panetta as defense chief.  Panetta has been longing to retire to his walnut farm in Northern California.