Who is Senator Chuck Hagel?

President Obama's choice for the next US defence secretary is a Republican politician and a decorated Vietnam veteran. Here are some facts about his life:

  • Grew up in a poor family in North Platte, Nebraska
  • Gained military experience as an infantry squad leader in the Vietnam war
  • Would be one of the few secretaries who has been wounded in war (he still has shrapnel lodged in his chest)
  • As a businessman, he made a fortune in the fledgling mobile phone industry
  • Served as Republican Senator for Nebraska twice
  • Criticised George W. Bush administration over the Iraq War

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Obama defends defence choice

Barack Obama has defended his controversial selection of former Republican senator Chuck Hagel as his US defence secretary.