President Obama announced the resignation of secretary of defense Chuck Hagel on Monday after less than two years in office.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s resignation is the first major change to Obama’s Cabinet since his Democrats were routed in the midterm elections. Obama announced the resignation with Hagel by his side, Reuters reported.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Barack Obama” author_title=”President of the United States”]
If there’s one thing I know about Chuck it is that he does not make this or any decision lightly. This decision does not come easily to him.
Hagel was appointed less than two years ago as Obama pushed his program of winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which was upended this year as the U.S. re-engaged in Iraq. Hagel, a former senator of Nebraska and Vietnam combat veteran, was the last Republican serving in Obama’s Cabinet. He was a critic of the Iraq war and was brought on to oversee withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Hagel got off to a rocky start before he was officially sworn in. His confirmation hearings were contentious, and he struggled to articulate Pentagon policies over the last two years.
Administration officials said there were several discussions since November between Hagel and Obama. The two realized it was time for a change and a different focus, but the decision was not due to policy differences, CNN reported.
Several foreign policy crises, including the rise of the Islamic state and a slow response to the Ebola epidemic, contributed to the need for a personnel change, according to officials. The administration has taken criticism over a series of national security crises, with the President’s response viewed as inconsistent.
Hagel, 68, said he will remain on the job every day until a successor is nominated and conformed by the Senate. Obama did not announce a successor, but a White House aide said the list includes former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flourney and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, USA Today reported.