Hagel is a former Republican US Senator from Nebraska, and will not be approved for his position without some vigorous opposition from a number of Democratic interest groups and several key Republicans. Hagel went against his party on the intervention into Iraq, and for this reason and others a variety of groups have been speaking against his confirmation since he was chosen to succeed Panetta five weeks ago.
One White House aide described some of the reasons Obama would like to see Hagel as Defense Secretary:
“Chuck Hagel is a decorated war hero who would be the first enlisted soldier and Vietnam veteran to go on to serve as secretary of defense. He had the courage to break with his party during the Iraq War, and would help bring the war in Afghanistan to an end while building the military we need for the future.
“He has been a champion for troops, veterans and military families through his service at the VA and USO, and his leadership on behalf of the post-9/11 GI Bill. The president knows him well, has traveled with him to Iraq and Afghanistan, trusts him and believes he represents the proud tradition of a strong, bipartisan foreign policy in the United States.”