Obama may replace Panetta with former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel at Pentagon
Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has emerged as the top candidate to take over as the head of Department of Defense.
Hagel was reportedly invited to the White House on Dec. 4 to discuss the Defense post with President Barack Obama.
According to the New York Daily News, two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News that Hagel may be nominated to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as early as this month.
Hagel, a 66-year-old Vietnam veteran and two-term senator, was a fierce critic of former President George W. Bush's management of the Iraq War.
Obama discussed the position with Hagel at the White House, an administration official told Bloomberg. Another official, however, said that the President has not made a final decision yet, the report said.
Other candidates for the post are thought to include current Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Michele Flournoy, former defense undersecretary for policy, the report added.