US defense secretary Chuck Hagel resigns
After less than two years on the job, United States defense secretary Chuck Hagel has submitted his formal resignation. According to BBC News, Hagel will stay on as the defense secretary until a proper replacement has been found. Before his tenure in the Department of Defense, he had previously served as a combat soldier in Vietnam, a Republican senator in Nebraska, and most importantly, a Georgetown professor.
Hagel has been known for his criticism of different military strategies in the past, including American involvement in Iraq and, more recently, the US strategy against the Syrian regime and the Islamic State. “I know that he was very, very frustrated,” said Senator John McCain according to Fox News. According to Fox, although McCain had opposed his colleague’s appointment as defense secretary, he was disappointed in the antagonism he faced as he was leaving.
The Obama administration noted that when faced with various crises over the last two years like ISIS, Ebola, and Russia’s aggressions in the Ukraine, Hagel did not exhibit that he was capable of handling such issues, especially in terms of organization and management. It also did not help that he and Susan Rice were not on good terms, according to foreign policy expert Steve Clemons.
An inside source made a statement that both President Barack Obama and Hagel agreed it was time for him to step down. Obama had allegedly said that Hagel had even come to discuss the most proper timing for his resignation. However, according to BBC, NBC News, Fox News, New York Times and others, Hagel’s decision to resign was based more on pressure coming from the Commander in Chief than on mutual agreement.
Accrording to NBC, the idea that Obama and Hagel had similar thoughts in terms of military strategy has suggested that perhaps that Hagel has been posed as a “sacrificial lamb”, showing Obama that he may need to reconsider his thoughts on national security.
The President said that he felt “”extraordinary lucky” to have had Hagel on staff as defense secretary, and Hagel noted too that being defense secretary had been the “great privilege of my life to lead and most importantly to serve the men and women of the defense department”.
Photo: Official U.S. Navy Page via flickr