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A View from the Senate: Foreign Policy and Economic Issues

Author: Troy Rutter | Image: Troy Rutter

Chuck Hagel
U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel

U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., presented the fourth annual Manatt-Phelps Lecture in Political Science on October 30, 2005. His lecture, “A View from the Senate: Foreign Policy and Economic Issues,” was presented in the Memorial Union Sun Room.

Chuck Hagel
Former Secretary of Defense
Former U.S. Senator (R-Nebraska)

Chuck Hagel was the first enlisted combat veteran to lead the Department of Defense. Hagel joined the United States Army and volunteered to go to Vietnam, rising to the rank of Sergeant and serving as an infantry squad leader alongside his brother, Tom, with the Army’s 9th Infantry Division in 1968. He earned numerous military decorations and honors, including two Purple Hearts.

After graduating from college, Hagel became Chief of Staff to Nebraska Congressman John Y. McCollister. In 1981, he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to serve as Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Administration. In that post he helped pioneer early electronic health record keeping and pushed for increased benefits for Vietnam veterans suffering from Agent Orange.

Chuck Hagel
U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel talks with some of the attendees at the lecture

Hagel also served as President and CEO of the USO; the Chief Operating Officer of the 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations (G-7 Summit) in Houston, Texas; Deputy Commissioner General of the United States for the 1982 World’s Fair, President of the Private Sector Council and President of McCarthy & Company, an Omaha based investment bank.

In 1996, Hagel was elected to the U.S. Senate and represented Nebraska until 2009. He was a senior member of the Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and Intelligence Committees. He chaired the Foreign Relations International Economic Policy, Export and Trade Promotion Subcommittee; and the Banking Committee’s International Trade and Finance, and Securities Subcommittees. He also served as the Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the Senate Climate Change Observer Group.

Following his Senate career, Hagel served as Co-Chairman of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board and a member of the Secretary of Defense Policy Board.