Foreign Policy’s blog The Cable reports that Obama will almost certainly nominate former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, and that the announcement may come as soon as Monday:
White House officials and sources close to Hagel declined to confirm to The Cable that Hagel is the president’s choice to be the replace Leon Panetta at the helm of the Pentagon, but several sources close to the process said have told The Cable that the White House and Hagel have been in touch on a regular basis and that Hagel is indeed the expected pick. Decisions about the timing and logistics of the announcement are being finalized now.
I’ve written about Hagel’s quiet campaign for this cabinet post; Hagel befriended Obama when they were colleagues in the Senate and, since 2008, has made himself useful to both the president and the administration. I’ve also written about the obstacles that may stand in the way of his confirmation. Since then, three U.S. Senators – Tom Coburn, Dan Coats and John Cornyn – have vowed to vote against Hagel’s confirmation. Outgoing congressman Barney Frank has also voiced his opposition to the nomination.