The Cable’s Josh Rogin, who reliably does great work, reports that after seemingly endless weeks of speculation, former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel is expected to be named as Leon Panetta’s replacement for secretary of defense.

White House officials and sources close to Hagel declined to confirm to The Cable that Hagel is the president’s choice to be the replace Leon Panetta at the helm of the Pentagon, but several sources close to the process said have told The Cable that the White House and Hagel have been in touch on a regular basis and that Hagel is indeed the expected pick. Decisions about the timing and logistics of the announcement are being finalized now.

Speculation about Hagel’s nomination has inspired a maddening collection of responses from charges of Hagel’s anti-Semitism and anti-gay remarks to criticism of his positions on Israel and more comprehensive doubts about his temperament and ability to manage.

Hagel has also earned plaudits high-profile supporters too, including long-time ambassador Ryan Crocker and former colleagues from around the Beltway. Others called on President Obama to avoid letting Israel be the issue that derail Hagel’s nomination.

Should President Obama tap him, we should expect a contentious nomination process.

Obama expected to pick Hagel as opponents prepare for fight