President Obama will announce the Secretary of Defense’s resignation at 11:00 a.m. on Monday.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will resign on Monday after just under two years on the job. According to a report by Helene Cooper at The New York Times, President Obama has decided to replace Hagel after coming to the conclusion over the last several weeks that the current Defense chief was not the right person to lead the fight against ISIS.

The president’s schedule has been changed and an announcement is now scheduled at the White House for 11:10 a.m. Eastern. A senior administration official confirmed the announcement via email, adding that Secretary Hagel and President Obama began discussing the possibility of his leaving back in October as part of “the natural post-midterms transition time.”

The implication from Hagel’s critics (and perhaps Hagel himself) was that he was brought in after the president’s reelection in early 2013 to lead the military drawdown in Afghanistan and manage a shrinking Pentagon bureaucracy, but that the rise of this new threat in the Middle East will require a new direction and strategy.

At the Washington Idea Forum last month, Hagel himself hinted at the endless long-term conflicts to be waged overseas, but gave no indication he wasn’t up for the challenged—although he did lament the lack of cooperation with other branches of the government.

“I hope that changes after next Tuesday; I don’t know,” he said. “Partnership is critical, because its not a matter of ‘We all have to agree.’ We need different opinions, but … both sides get to some conclusion and make a decision on how we go forward.”

Others reportedly questioned his overall leadership of the department, saying he “struggled to inspire confidence” and “had problems articulating his thoughts — or administration policy — in an effective manner.”

However, his resignation is being portrayed as a mutual decision and sources stressed that Hagel is not being fired. He will remain at his post until a new secretary is nominated and confirmed, which is unlikely to happen before the new Congress convenes next year.

Hagel, a former Republican Senator who served with the president on the same Foreign Relations Committee when they were both in Congress, was appointed to the post in February 2013 and expected to serve out the remainder of the Obama administration.

Source: The Atlantic / Nov. 24, 2014


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