Washington D.C.House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member, Congressman Adam Smith, released the following statement after President Obama announced two appointments to his national security team:

“Both the incoming director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the incoming Secretary of Defense will face a myriad of difficult challenges such as sequestration, confronting Iran’s nuclear ambitions and continuing the battle against Al Qaeda and violent extremists.  In addition, the Secretary of Defense will also have to oversee the redeployment of our troops from Afghanistan and manage tighter budgets.

“John Brennan is an excellent choice to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.  As Deputy National Security Advisor, Brennan has clearly demonstrated the ability to work with the President's national security team and achieve results. His experience and judgment, honed first through 25 years of service at the CIA and then as Deputy National Security Advisor in the Obama Administration, have been vitally important to the Administration’s successful efforts to combat terrorism and protect the homeland.  As Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, I believe he will continue that successful record.

“Former Senator Chuck Hagel has strong credentials. He had a long career in the Senate focused on national security and foreign policy, and he served bravely in the Vietnam War, earning two purple hearts. As we move through the nomination process, I look forward to learning more about his qualifications and vision for the Department of Defense.

“The addition of new faces also means the departure of trusted leadership. Secretary Panetta will be sorely missed. His tenure as Secretary of Defense was marked with a number of key accomplishments. He oversaw the end of the Iraq war, laid the groundwork to end the war in Afghanistan and ended the discriminatory policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I wish him the all the best.”