President Obama named his choice for Defense Secretary.
Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is "the leader that our troops deserve", says Pres. Obama.
In a press conference, Obama heralded the credentials of both Hagel and John Brennan, his pick to lead the CIA.
While Obama said he hopes the Senate will act on the confirmations quickly, his selection of Hagel is expected to trigger a political storm over his confirmation in the Senate, where a bipartisan group of critics has already lined up against the pick.
"This is an in your face nomination by the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told CNN on Sunday. "I don't know what his management experience is regarding the Pentagon -- little, if any, so I think it's an incredibly controversial choice."
The criticism in the Senate stems from Hagel's controversial statements on foreign policy in the past. One comment in 2008 made reference to Israel's U.S. supporters as "the Jewish lobby." He has also drawn criticism for his public encouragement of negotiations between the United States, Israel and Hamas, a Palestinian group the State Department classifies as terrorists.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., approves of the nomination.
"Senator Hagel is well qualified to serve as Secretary of Defense with his broad experience in national security affairs," Levin said.
He points to Hagels military experience as proof of the type of advocate he would be for the military.
"The Armed Services Committee will give prompt and careful consideration to Senator Hagel's nomination for this critical position," Levin said.