Hagel swears in as defense chief after bruising confirmation battle

updated at 09h17
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Chuck Hagel, a decorated Vietnam veteran, swore in as the defense secretary at a small, closed-door ceremony on Wednesday, after a bruising confirmation battle in the Senate.

 Photo: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to be Defense Secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 31, 2013.
Photo: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Hagel will address Pentagon employees at 10:30 a.m. EST. He was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday in the closest vote ever for a defense secretary, with just four Republicans voting for him.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart)

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