U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is stepping down from the top post at the Pentagon "under pressure" reports the New York Times on Monday.
Other outlets report that Hagel's resignation has been accepted by President Obama. The official announcement of the resignation is expected to come from Obama later today.
According to the Times:
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. A Republican with military experience who was skeptical about the Iraq war, Mr. Hagel came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestration.
But now “the next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” one administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired, saying that he initiated discussions about his future two weeks ago with the president, and that the two men mutually agreed that it was time for him to leave.
Reaction among progressives and anti-war voices was captured, in tone and substance, on Twitter:
Shorter Obama: Hagel was brought in to make peace. So I'm going to fire him now. http://t.co/i4NDcBRPV3
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) November 24, 2014
Oh my, Chuck Hagel leaves as Sec.of Defense. I wonder which war hawk will replace him??? http://t.co/FOCCKjxjMX
— Medea Benjamin (@medeabenjamin) November 24, 2014
— Liliana Segura (@LilianaSegura) November 24, 2014
Does Obama think Hagel hyperventilated too much about the Islamic State? Or too little?
— Dan Froomkin (@froomkin) November 24, 2014