Sen. Chuck Hagel began his Thursday in the hot seat as he faced tough questions from lawmakers who will determine whether or not he is confirmed as the nation's next defense secretary.
Republicans have expressed concern that he won't protect America's interests or allies around the world.
Hagel has met privately with many senators in advance of the hearing as he works to calm their concerns over remarks about gays and what he called "the Jewish lobby."
The decorated Vietnam veteran and two term Republican senator from Nebraska still faces fierce critics, most within his own party.
In his testimony, Hagel vowed to protect U.S. allies.
His supporters say he will also give the President unvarnished advice.