Today, President Obama announced that Secretary of Defense Chick Hagel will resign. He will leave his post as soon as a replacement is confirmed.
Hagel has been Secretary of Defense less than two years since being sworn in on February 27, 2013. He is the first former enlisted person and first Vietnam veteran to become Secretary of Defense
In making the announcement at the White House, the president called Hagel “an exemplary secretary, providing a steady hand as we modernized our strategy and budget to meet long-term threats.”
Responding to the president’s remarks, Hagel said “I believe that we have set not only the Department of Defense, but the nation on a stronger course toward security, stability, and prosperity.”
In a message to DoD military and civilian personnel, Hagel said he made his decision after much discussion with the president. He said he and the president “agreed that now was the right time for new leadership here at the pentagon.”
Hagel enumerated the accomplishments the department has made during his tenure: prepared for a successful transition in Afghanistan; taken “the fight to ISIL” and blunted their momentum; assisted people worldwide suffering from natural disaster and disease; sustained the all-volunteer force; and “bolstered new alliances and strengthened emerging partnerships.” He said he will work hard to support the men and women of the DoD “right up until my last day in office.”
A successor to Hagel has not yet been named. Many commentators speculate that Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), former Under Secretary for Policy Michele Flournoy, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter are high on the list of potential replacements.