Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel is "likely" to be named the next Secretary of Defense by President Obama, Bloomberg is now reporting. Hagel visited the White House to discuss the position December 4, and has passed the vetting process, according to the news site. Update: NBC News quotes a White House official saying, "I can say there will be no new cabinet secretaries announced this week."
In 1968, Hagel served as an infantryman in Vietnam, where among other awards, he got two Purple Hearts. (Hagel and his brother Tom were both squad leaders.) When he returned home, he went to college on the old G.I. Bill. The two-term Republican is known for criticizing his own party during the Iraq war, which he voted for.
In 2005, he began criticizing the George W. Bush administration,comparing the worsening Iraq war to Vietnam. When then-Vice President Dick Cheney said the Iraqi insurgency was in its "last throes," Hagel told CNN, "Maybe the vice president can explain the increase in casualties we're taking... If that's winning, then he's got a different definition of winning than I do."