"What disappointed me is that ... they talked a lot about past quotes, but what about what a secretary of defense is confronting today?" he asked. "What about the war ... in Afghanistan? What about the war on terrorism? What about the budget sequestering [automatic budget cuts] – what impact it's going to have on readiness? What about Middle East turmoil? What about cyber-attacks?"
"All of the issues that confront a secretary of defense, frankly … we just did not see enough time spent on discussing those issues," Panetta said.
Still, former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on “Meet the Press,” “The disconcerting thing for anybody that watched [Hagel’s confirmation hearing] is he seemed unimpressive and unprepared on the questions that quite frankly he knew was coming.”