The Senate Armed Services Committee met behind closed doors Tuesday and approved Leon Panetta to be the next Secretary of Defense.
The vote was unanimous and the nomination is now set for full Senate floor consideration. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will decide when that happens.
Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he hopes the Senate will take up the nomination "next week," though a vote is not yet scheduled.
Levin said he expects Panetta, currently the CIA Director, to be confirmed and in place by the time the current secretary, Robert Gates, retires at the end of the month.