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Secretary of Defense Hagel Announces Resignation

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has announced his resignation to be completed when the Senate confirms a replacement. The announcement came at an event at the White House where President Obama offered a warm summation of Hagel’s career and personal friendship with the president. Flanked by both President Obama and Vice President Biden, Secretary Hagel said he was looking forward to spending more time with his family and was proud of his public service.

Previous to being Secretary of Defense Hagel had been a US Senator and prior to elected office had served as an enlisted soldier during the Vietnam war. He and Obama formed a friendship when both were senators and were skeptical of the Iraq war. Hagel, a Republican, later accompanied Obama on a trip to Afghanistan and Iraq during the 2008 campaign.

Though the event at the White House painted a rosy picture of Hagel’s departure, press reports indicate Hagel is not leaving under the best of circumstances.

Administration officials said that Mr. Obama made the decision to remove Mr. Hagel, the sole Republican on his national security team, last Friday after a series of meetings between the two men over the past two weeks. The officials characterized the decision as a recognition that the threat from the militant group Islamic State will require different skills from those that Mr. Hagel, who often struggled to articulate a clear viewpoint and was widely viewed as a passive defense secretary, was brought in to employ…

Even before the announcement of Mr. Hagel’s removal, Obama officials were speculating on his possible replacement. At the top of the list are Michèle A. Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense; Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and a former officer with the Army’s 82nd Airborne; and Ashton B. Carter, a former deputy secretary of defense.

What “different skills” really entails is a matter of some debate. Hagel publicly contradicted President Obama on the threat of ISIS so perhaps that means communication skills. Though it may mean having someone leading the Department of Defense more geared towards aggressive warfare than caution and skepticism. Hagel would not be the best partner for another war in Iraq.

At the moment no replacement for Hagel has been announced, though any replacement is going to face a thorough vetting from Republicans in the senate who are soon to be in the majority.

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Secretary of Defense Hagel Announces Resignation

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Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has announced his resignation to be completed when the Senate confirms a replacement. The announcement came at an event at the White House where President Obama offered a warm summation of Hagel’s career and personal friendship with the president. Flanked by both President Obama and Vice President Biden, Secretary Hagel said he was looking forward to spending more time with his family and was proud of his public service.

Previous to being Secretary of Defense Hagel had been a US Senator and prior to elected office had served as an enlisted soldier during the Vietnam war. He and Obama formed a friendship when both were senators and were skeptical of the Iraq war. Hagel, a Republican, later accompanied Obama on a trip to Afghanistan and Iraq during the 2008 campaign.

Though the event at the White House painted a rosy picture of Hagel’s departure, press reports indicate Hagel is not leaving under the best of circumstances.

Administration officials said that Mr. Obama made the decision to remove Mr. Hagel, the sole Republican on his national security team, last Friday after a series of meetings between the two men over the past two weeks. The officials characterized the decision as a recognition that the threat from the militant group Islamic State will require different skills from those that Mr. Hagel, who often struggled to articulate a clear viewpoint and was widely viewed as a passive defense secretary, was brought in to employ…

Even before the announcement of Mr. Hagel’s removal, Obama officials were speculating on his possible replacement. At the top of the list are Michèle A. Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense; Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and a former officer with the Army’s 82nd Airborne; and Ashton B. Carter, a former deputy secretary of defense.

What “different skills” really entails is a matter of some debate. Hagel publicly contradicted President Obama on the threat of ISIS so perhaps that means communication skills. Though it may mean having someone leading the Department of Defense more geared towards aggressive warfare than caution and skepticism. Hagel would not be the best partner for another war in Iraq.

At the moment no replacement for Hagel has been announced, though any replacement is going to face a thorough vetting from Republicans in the senate who are soon to be in the majority.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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