A decorated Vietnam veteran and a staunch supporter of the military, former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel has positioned himself to stay in military circles. He was senator from Nebraska from 1997 to 2009, and as a senator was a member of the Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.
Now the head of the Atlantic Council -- a NATO and military -oriented think tank -- he is considered an independent thinker and a choice to please Republicans.
However, his stance on Iraq could get him in trouble with Republicans. Hagel blasted the Bush White House, likening the war in Iraq to that of Vietnam, and he later said the Iraq surge was the most dangerous foreign policy "blunder" since Vietnam. That could be a problem for the most senior Republican on Senate Armed Services, John McCain of Arizona, who was a major force behind pushing for the surge.
The White House, responsible for closing the war in Iraq, may not want to start dragging all of that history back up. There is some additional bad blood between the two as Hagel, a fellow Republican senator, did not endorse McCain during his 2008 presidential bid.
He is also seen by many Republicans as being anti-Israel and has called for direct negotiations with Iran's leadership. A lot of baggage to carry around in Washington these days.
But it's that attitude that also might attract Hagel to Obama. Somebody who can show restraint on flexing combat muscle and using the DoD post as more of a diplomatic post as the United States starts facing new challenges outside of the war in Afghanistan.
Some say Hagel getting this current buzz close even as the White House is expected to name its new national security team is surprising, saying his independent streak might be a deterrent.