President Obama on Monday nominated former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) to be the nation’s next Defense secretary despite warnings of a tough confirmation fight from some Senate Republicans.
“Chuck Hagel is the leader that our troops deserve,” Obama said from the White House. “He is an American patriot.”
Obama also nominated his chief counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, to direct the CIA, where he would succeed David Petraeus, who resigned in November after revelations of an affair.
Obama noted that, if confirmed, Hagel would become the first person of enlisted rank to serve as Defense secretary, as well as the first Vietnam veteran.
“As I saw during our visits together to Afghanistan and Iraq, the troops see a decorated combat veteran of character and strength,” Obama said. “They see one of our own.”