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With President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense, some analysts and many Democrats will bemoan the fact that a Democratic president once again needs to rely on a Republican to fill a top national security position. According to this view, the Democratic national security bench is much thinner than the Republicans’. But, since the end of World War II, presidents have often appointed members of the other party (as well as career civil servants) to key posts.

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This article was originally published in Foreign Policy.

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