ISIS' First Administration Casualty: Chuck Hagel Resigns Under Pressure From Obama

It appears some folks might be scapegoated... As NY Times reports, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down, under presssure. President Obama made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel has, and that his team has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises.

As NY Times reports,

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and a beleaguered national security team that has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises.

 

The president, who is expected to announce Mr. Hagel’s resignation in a Rose Garden appearance on Monday, made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday after a series of meetings over the past two weeks, senior administration officials said.

 

The 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.

 

In his less than two years on the job, Mr. Hagel’s detractors said he struggled to inspire confidence at the Pentagon in the manner of his predecessors, especially Robert Gates. But several of Mr. Obama’s top advisers have over the past months also acknowledged privately that the president did not want another high-profile defense secretary in the manner of Mr. Gates, who went on to write a memoir of his years with Mr. Obama in which he sharply criticized the president. Mr. Hagel, they said, in many ways, was exactly the kind of Defense Secretary which the president, after battling the military during his first term, wanted.

 

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He raised the ire of the White House in August as the administration was ramping up its strategy to fight the Islamic State, directly contradicting the president, who months before had likened the Sunni militant group to a junior varsity basketball squad. Mr. Hagel, facing reporters in his now-familiar role next to General Dempsey, called the Islamic State an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding, “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” White House officials later said they viewed those comments as unhelpful, although the administration still appears to be struggling to define just how large is the threat posed by the Islamic State.

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