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


Obama defends defence choice

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