Obama's defense secretary nominee to face Senate Jan 31

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Washington, Jan 16 (IANS) US President Barack Obama's nominee for secretary of defense Chuck Hagel will have his Senate confirmation hearing Jan 31, the Senate Armed Services Committee said Wednesday.

The announcement came after Hagel's meetings in the past days with key lawmakers, Xinhua reported.

The former senator won over the support of Charles Schumer, the No.3 Democrat in the Senate, the report said.

Obama announced Jan 7 his decision to pick Hagel to replace the retiring Leon Panetta at the Pentagon.

Hagel, 66, is a decorated Vietnam War veteran. He is believed to be a trusted ally of Obama on issues including quick exit from Afghanistan.