White House had a big announcement to make this morning, on a holiday-shorted week.  Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, submitted his resignation letter this morning to President Obama, where he accepted Hagel’s resignation.  The move comes as both the president and Hagel decided it was time for a new direction and leadership initiative in the Pentagon.  President Obama was originally planned to make an announcement, via news conference of the defense chief’s departure, however, it appears that it will be unlikely.  The president and his national security team continue to search for a replacement and is not expected to nominate a new defense secretary today.

Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel Steps Down From Post

Chuck Hagel's career

Chuck Hagel took the reigns as Secretary of Defense on January 7, 2013 to replace, then-secretary Leon Panetta.  However, after Chuck Hagel came to power, we began to see numerous threats rise in the Middle East under his watch, such as the Islamic State, fighting resuming in Iraq, expansion of fighting into Syria, not to mention US is still engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan.  Limited success has been garnered since his leadership of the Pentagon came to be, and the former Republican Nebraska Senator agreed that it was time for a change.  "No. First of all, I serve at the pleasure of the president," Chuck Hagel said. "I'm immensely grateful for the opportunity I've had the last two years to work every day for the country and for the men and women who serve this country. I don't get up in the morning and worry about my job. It's not unusual by the way, to change teams at different times” said Hagel last week on Charlie Rose show after being asked about speculation that the president wanted a new defense chief for his last two years.

Who will fill in Chuck Hagel's seat?

It is too early to speculate or determine a short list for potential candidates for the vacant position, but whoever it is, has a stressful job ahead.  The new Secretary of Defense will have to work with the president, military and national security advisors to get a more meaningful action plan on attacking Islamic State, Afghanistan drawdown at end of the year, Syria fighting, Russian aggression, Iranian nuclear talks temporarily folding, etc.  There are a lot of issues out there regarding defense right now and we certainly need a better plan of action that what we have had. Chuck Hagel also just recently cancelled a trip to Vietnam that was planned long ago, to help back and support Vietnam in its dispute with China in the South China Sea.  Unfortunately for Chuck Hagel, it is rumored that the speculation of a new defense chief came after he cancelled the trip, which was seen as vital to the administration.  Bottom line here is that international affairs are stacking up right now and we need a dedicated defense leader to keep the threats at bay and meet challenges head on.  Keep in touch with Valuewalk.com to get up to date information on the new Secretary of Defense nominee process.