Indeed, the White House hopes to turn Hagel's confirmation hearing into an opportunity to reinforce its hard line. Obama's first two secretaries of Defense, Robert M. Gates and Leon E. Panetta, both warned publicly against the costs of going to war with Iran. Hagel is likely to make it clear that, despite the costs, he accepts that the threat of war is necessary. "We still have a challenge to convince the Iranians that we're quite serious about the use of force," Ross said. "In the first term, the administration didn't always speak with one voice on this issue. So what Hagel says can make a difference…. It could affect Iranian perceptions and Israeli perceptions."