"Chuck displays his courage in many ways. You can always count on him to analyze a difficult situation and take a position that reflects his best judgment," Powell said in a statement. "I believe that more than ever we need that kind of independent and bold leader who thinks in and out of the box. He is the kind of leader needed by the Department of Defense to deal with the strategic and resource challenges it will be facing over the next several years."
Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a former Army Ranger who serves on the Senate Armed Services committee, said Hagel will make an "outstanding" secretary.
"He is highly qualified and his record of service to this country as a decorated combat veteran, successful CEO, senator, and statesman is extraordinary. Chuck is a man of uncommon independence and integrity. Chuck Hagel's candor, judgment, and expertise will serve him well as our next Secretary of Defense," he said in a statement. "I fully support his confirmation."