U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is praising outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel while criticizing President Barack Obama.
Ayotte, a Republican who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, opposed Hagel's confirmation in 2012 but said Monday he should be honored for his service to the country.
She also said the "national security failings" of the Obama administration rest with the president, not Hagel.
Her colleague on the committee, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, said she has the utmost respect for Hagel, who resigned Monday.
Ayotte says Obama must nominate someone who can earn support from both political parties and has a clear understanding of the threats the country faces.
Shaheen says confronting the Islamic State group and protecting members of the military are critical issues for the next secretary.