Senator Jim Inhofe made a fly in appearance Saturday at the Will Rogers Airport in Claremore.
Inhofe met with a small group of constituents, briefing them on some top issues including President Barrack Obama’s recent appointment of Senator Chuck Hagel as the Secretary of Defense.
Hagel has been an outspoken supporter of nuclear disarmament. This view is likely to influence his support for the nuclear modernization commitment made by the President to secure the 2010 New START Treaty, as well as potential plans to further reduce U.S. nuclear forces to levels inconsistent with U.S. national security and its commitment to allies, according to Inhofe.
Hagel’s attempts to push the administration to take a much softer line on dealing with Iranian nuclear ambitions and his stance on military support for foreign interventions is an additional concern, he added.
“Iran will have the capability of a nuclear weapon and a delivery system in 2014,” Inhofe said. “We don’t have anything to knock it down and wont for a period of time and it is the biggest threat to America,” Inhofe said.
Finally Hagel’s voting history and comments regarding the U.S. and the support of Israel, brings forth questions, according to Inhofe.
Hagel voted against sanctions against Iran and refused to identify certain terrorist groups in the region, he added.
The issue is bigger than the effort to disarm the military and decrease defense spending.
“What I am concerned as we are on the way back down,” Inhofe said.
It would take a limited amount of time to build back the country’s defenses under the proper leadership, however Obama is making the U.S. vulnerable during the process of cutting back, according to Inhofe.
When asked about the impact of an automatic $600 billion cut, beyond the $487 billion already proposed by the President in April 2011, to the Department of Defense, Sen. Hagel chose not to agree with Secretary Panetta’s assessment that such cuts would be devastating, he added.
Instead Sen. Hagel stated that he feels the Defense Department is “bloated” and that “the Pentagon needs to be pared down.” Sen. Hagel also stated, that “I don’t think that our military has really looked at themselves strategically, critically in a long, long time.”
“I will oppose his nomination,” Inhofe said.