This morning, President Obama announced that he will be picking former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as his nominee for Secretary of Defense.

There are many different issues that Hagel will face during his confirmation hearings, and progressives can be expected to question him on his past conservative opposition to gay rights.

Here’s one area where he’s more progressive. In a 2011 interview with the Financial Times, he said that the budget is “in many ways bloated” and said that it must be “pared down.”

“War costs money and Hagel understands that. Many believe Hagel wants to dramatically reduce the Department of Defense budget,” writes defense analyst and veteran Kerry Patton. “How many critics realize how much fraud, waste, and abuse rests within the DOD? Any level-headed individual can go into any government office and find wasteful spending. There is no better time than now to take a close look at wasteful spending and start making cuts.”

This would put Hagel to the left of the current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who resisted major defense cuts.