Chuck Hagel in line for Pentagon

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 December, 2012, 4:51am


US President Barack Obama is considering former Republican senator Chuck Hagel for the job of defence secretary as he moves towards appointing his second-term cabinet, sources said.

But Obama, who served with Hagel in the Senate, has not made a final decision on whether to send his friend to the Pentagon to succeed Leon Panetta, an administration source said.

A decision by Obama to pick a Republican to lead the Pentagon would be seen as an attempt to show bipartisanship, although Hagel is seen as a centrist on foreign policy.

The president must also find a new head of the CIA, after the former director, retired general David Petraeus, resigned over an extramarital affair.

Hagel, a combat veteran who branded then President George W. Bush's Iraq strategy as the worst foreign policy blunder since Vietnam, served two terms as a Nebraska senator until 2009.