Colin Powell said Sunday that Chuck Hagel would be confirmed secretary of defense, offering a ringing endorsement of the decorated war hero and former Republican senator from Nebraska.
The former secretary of state said on NBC's "Meet The Press" that Hagel is "superbly qualified" and "will make a very spirited defense of his positions" when he appears before the Senate.
Powell praised Hagel's "very, very distinguished public service record." He said Hagel "speaks his mind" and "says what he believes and sticks with it" even if it gets him in trouble.
He said the issues raised about Hagel are "important" but that the ex-senator will have an opportunity to address them at his confirmation hearings, and will "do a great job as secretary of defense."
Powell said Hagel is "a good supporter of Israel" but he's "not reluctant to disagree when he thinks disagreement is appropriate." He said being pro-Israel "doesn't mean you have to agree with every single position that the Israeli government takes."