Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Is Stepping Down

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Is Stepping Down
Source: AP
Source: AP

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is resigning from President Barack Obama's Cabinet, the Associated Press reports, citing a senior administration official.

CBS News reports that the resignation is a "mutual decision" between Hagel and Obama that "has been under discussion for the last couple of weeks." 

The New York Times, which first reported news of Hagel's resignation, suggests otherwise. "Officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ," the Times's Helene Cooper writes. "His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis and the threat posed by the Islamic State."

Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, has served as Pentagon chief since early 2013. He replaced retiring Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

President Obama will announce Hagel's resignation at a ceremony at 11:10 a.m. Monday.

In an interview with PBS' Charlie Rose last week, Hagel was asked whether he believed he still had the confidence of the president. "Well, I don’t think I would be here if I didn’t. But you’d have to ask him that. I mean I see him all the time," Hagel said, according to TIME.

CBS News says that Hagel was "fed up with micromanagement from the White House," while one administration official told NBC News that Hagel "wasn't up to the job." 

Hagel is expected to stay on as defense secretary until a replacement is confirmed. CNN's Jim Acosta says former defense officials Michele Flournoy, Ashton Carter and former Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) are on the short list to replace Hagel, citing a White House official.

This is a developing story. We will update with new information as it becomes available.

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Jared Keller

Jared Keller is the former director of news at Mic.

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