Just less than two years in office as Defense secretary for President Obama, 68-year old Chuck Hagel bows out of the administration in very unclear circumstances. And this view is made more strong by Obama who while announcing Hagel’s resignation states that “If there’s one thing I know about Chuck, it’s that he does not make this or any other decision lightly.”
With about two dozen senior officials and cabinet secretaries in the State Dining Room of the White House, President Obama with Hagel standing next to him announced the departing Defense secretary had been an asset to his administration in spite of minor differences they experienced along the way. “We come from different parties, but in accepting this position, you sent a powerful message, especially to those in this city, that when it comes to our national security and our military families, our country always comes first.”
Being the first enlisted combat veteran to work as Defense secretary, Obama greatly commended Hagel for his service to the nation most especially as it relates to the US military in foreign missions. “He’s been in the dirt. He’s been in the mud. And that has established a special bond. He sees himself in them. They see themselves in him.” Obama said. “He volunteered for Vietnam and still has the scars and shrapnel from the battled he has fought.”
Joining Obama’s administration in February 2013, Hagel was up against militancy issues facing the US government on all sides. He led the fight against the ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and also confronted Ebola epidemics from West Africa. Having known Hagel since his days in the US senate, Obama single-handedly nominated him for the defense post even though Hagel is a Republican.
And though his Senate confirmation hearings were not without its own problems, even from party men, Sen. John McCain of Arizona states that “Secretary Chuck Hagel and I have had our differences over many years, but I have always considered him a friend, a patriot, and a dedicated public servant who has always put our country first and the needs of our men and women in uniform above his own.”
It is not clear why Hagel is leaving at this time, but White House officials made it clear that Hagel is not being forced down in any way, even though it appears he is not too cool with US’s foreign policies and some other similar things. It also came to the fore that the White House had cancelled a trip he was planning for Asia, with a stopover in Vietnam – and this cancellation seems to have gone wrong with Hagel – although he doesn’t appear to be laying it to heart in any way.