Chairman Levin Questions Hagel On U.S.-Armenia Defense Relationship


11:56 12.02.2013

In response to a direct inquiry by Senate Armed Services Committee
Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI), President Obama’s nominee to serve as
Secretary of Defense, former Senator Chuck Hagel, called for the
expansion of U.S.-Armenia defense relations, reported the Armenian
National Committee of America (ANCA).

“We would like to thank Chairman Levin for drawing attention, during
this especially closely watched Senate confirmation process, to the
importance of growth in the U.S.-Armenia defense relationship,” said
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We share Senator Hagel’s
view that there is much room for the development of these ties, and
look forward, should he be confirmed, to engaging with the Department
of Defense on this matter.”

In response to a written inquiry by Chairman Levin, Senator Hagel
explained “The U.S.-Armenia defense relationship is sound. As with
all relationships, there is room to grow and areas where we can
strengthen our cooperation and partnership.” He went on to note
that, if confirmed, “I would continue to engage Armenian leaders to
strengthen existing areas of engagement and identify new areas of
cooperation that support Armenia’s defense reforms, especially its
peacekeeping brigade, and continue its ability to deploy in coalition

In the days leading up to the Hagel confirmation hearing, ANCA
activists across America, including those in Chairman Levin’s state
of Michigan, urged their legislators to engage the nominee on a range
of issues of concern to the Armenian American community. Of special
concern were statements by Hagel opposing official U.S. affirmation
of the Armenian Genocide. “What happened in 1915 happened in 1915. As
one United States Senator, I think the better way to deal with this is
to leave it open to historians and others to decide what happened and
why,” then-Senator Hagel told a group of Armenian reporters during
a trip to Armenia in 2005. “The fact is that this region needs to
move forward,” Hagel added. “We need to find a lasting, just peace
between Turkey and Armenia and the other nations of this region. I
am not sure that by going back and dealing with that in some way that
causes one side or the other to be put in difficult spot, helps move
the peace process forward.”

Chairman Levin announced his intention to bring Hagel’s nomination
for a committee vote on Tuesday, February 12th, opening the door for
a full Senate vote later this week.

You may also like