President Obama took the podium Monday morning to announce Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s resignation. Hagel will stay on until the Senate confirms his replacement, a cabinet position the president has filled four times in the six years of his presidency.
Possible replacements, as noted by the Wall Street Journal, include former Pentagon officials Michele Flournoy and Ashton Carter, also a former deputy defense secretary; and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., who on Monday reaffirmed his wish to remain in the Senate.
Hagel is said to have been pushed toward the resignation after becoming frustrated with the Obama Administration’s national security policy and defense spending, Politico reported.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said it was “excessive micro-management” on the part of the White House that drove Hagel to the decision.
However, Hagel remained composed and spoke cordially after the president, saying he was proud of what he and the administration had accomplished during his tenure.
“We have prepared ourselves, as the president has noted, our allies and Afghan National Security Forces for a successful transition in Afghanistan. We’ve bolstered enduring alliances and strengthened emerging partnerships, while successfully responding to crises around the world,” Hagel said at a press conference.
Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, took over for Leon Panetta in early 2013. A longtime critic of the Iraq War, Hagel served with then-Sen. Obama on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Hagel is a veteran himself, having received two Purple Hearts as an infantry squad leader during the Vietnam War.
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