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US Defense Chief to Resign

US Defense Chief to ResignUS Defense Chief to Resign

The United State’s Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will step down from his position, a senior administration official confirmed to CNN Monday.

Hagel, who has served in this position since February 2013, was forced out by President Barack Obama, CNN confirmed from several sources. White House officials, however, are portraying this as a mutual decision.

Administration officials said there was a series of discussions over the past several weeks with the President, initiated by Hagel. The talks covered a “broader discussion of national security for the next two years,” a defense official said.

The two came to realize that “a different focus was needed and a change is in order,” the official added. “It is wrong to conclude that this was a protest by Hagel or it was over policy differences.”

Sources said that the short list to replace Hagel includes former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, a former paratrooper. The move, White House officials told the Times, was meant to acknowledge that the new national security threats facing the nation — most notably the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria — call for a different kind of leadership in the Defense Department.

“The next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” an administration official told the paper. A critic of the Iraq war, Hagel was brought on to oversee withdrawal from Afghanistan and a smaller Pentagon budget than ever before.

Hagel, a former senator of Nebraska, was the last Republican still serving in Obama’s Cabinet and was a Vietnam combat veteran. His tenure was rocky before it even began.

During his confirmation hearings, Hagel drew sharp criticism from pro-Israel Republicans concerned with his opposition to aggressive sanctions against Iran and for his criticism of the Defense Department as “bloated.”

Financialtribune.com