President Obama nominates former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to be defense secretary Monday at the White House. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Mark Wilson/Getty Images It's All Politics Why Hagel? Let Us Count The Reasons January 7, 2013 President Obama wants Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon. Hagel's confirmation would put four men with close ties from their Senate days at the center of the nation's foreign policy and national security policymaking. And that's something Obama is willing to fight for.