WASHINGTON — Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is President Barack Obama's pick to be the next defense secretary.
That's the word from a senior Obama administration official and from a source close to the process for selecting a successor to retiring Pentagon chief Leon Panetta.
They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the imminent nomination.
Hagel is a decorated Vietnam combat veteran and a former Nebraska senator.
His path to Senate confirmation might not be completely smooth. Former colleagues say he'll face tough questions about his stands on Israel and Iran, among other issues.