Obama nominates Hagel as Defense Secretary, Brennan as CIA chief

President Barack Obama announced two major nominations to his cabinet Monday, and at least one of them could lead to a confirmation fight.

The president tapped former Republican Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel as his next Secretary of Defense. Many GOP colleagues are critical of his views on issues like negotiating with Iran, opposing troop surges in Iraq and Afghanistan, and calling for cuts in defense spending.

During a news conference Monday, Obama said that Hagel recognizes that “when it comes to the defense of our country, we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Americans.”

Hagel is a Vietnam veteran who earned two Purple Hearts during the war. If confirmed, Hagel will replace outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Obama also nominated John Brennan for the job of CIA director.

Brennan is currently the president’s Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism adviser. Before that, he spent 25 years at the CIA Focusing on the Mideast and terrorism.

Brennan will bring “the leadership of one of nation’s most skilled and respected intelligence professionals” to the CIA, Obama said

If confirmed, Brennan would replace General David Petraeus who resigned last year after admitting to an affair.

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