Senate to Vote on Panetta Confirmation

Posted June 21st, 2011 at 9:25 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote to confirm Leon Panetta as the new secretary of defense on Tuesday.

Panetta, the current director of the Central Intelligence Agency, would succeed Robert Gates, who plans to retire next week.

Earlier this month, Panetta told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination that his first task at the Pentagon will be to ensure the U.S. prevails in the conflicts it is engaged in, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If confirmed by the Senate, Panetta would take over the Pentagon at a time when President Barack Obama has called for an additional $400 billion in cuts to security spending.

Panetta would bring extensive budget experience to the Defense Department, having served as head of the White House budget office under President Bill Clinton, and before that, chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee.