Photo of the Day: Jan. 7, 2013

Vietnam veteran and former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) attends a news conference to unveil planned exhibits for the new Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center at the U.S. Capitol May 22, 2007 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Meet the new Secretary of Defense, at least if Obama gets his way.  Former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel will be tapped as the next Sec. Def., after several weeks of speculation surrounding possible difficulties in a confirmation fight.  More after the break.

From the AFP:

Comments from Republican lawmakers on Jan. 6 presaged a fierce confirmation battle for the man U.S. President Barack Obama is reportedly about to nominate as his defense secretary: Chuck Hagel.

Obama has decided he wants the 66-year-old former Republican senator to succeed Leon Panetta at the Pentagon and will make his announcement as early as Jan. 7, U.S. media, including CNN and Washington specialists Politico, said.

Despite the fact that Hagel is a fellow-Republican, party heavyweights scenting blood in bitterly-divided Washington have accused him of hostility toward Israel and naivety on Iran, auguring a tough nomination process ahead.

Why the objection to a former Republican Senator?  According to the AFP it dates back to the Iraq war.

Some Republicans have never forgiven him for his outspoken criticism of ex-president George W. Bush’s handling of the Iraq war.

What makes the Hagel selection interesting, if he is confirmed along with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., will be the combat experience that has been added to the cabinet.

While current Sec. Def. Leon Panetta served in the Army during the Vietnam war, he did not see significant combat, and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not serve.  Both Hagel and Kerry are decorated Vietnam war veterans, men who have seen intense combat.  Whether that experience will color their decision making is unclear, but it does provide a different perspective to the application of U.S. power overseas.

Zachary Fryer-Biggs
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Zachary Fryer-Biggs

Senior Staff Writer at Defense News
Zach is the State Department correspondent, cyberwarfare, research & development and business reporter for Defense News.
Zachary Fryer-Biggs
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