Chuck Hagel resigned earlier this week as Secretary of Defense. Hagel was under pressure to resign after very challenging global crises under his tenure. He will serve until a replacement is appointed.
Hagel was appointed by President Obama less than two years ago. He was hailed by President Obama as ” no ordinary secretary of defense.” He also praised Hagel for being a Republican who could work under a Democratic administration.
However, Hagel came under attack from fellow Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner. They felt Hagel didn’t take enough decisive action against terrorists like ISIS. Boehner said Hagel’s resignation “must be part of a larger re-thinking of our strategy to confront the threats we face abroad, especially the threat posed by the rise of ISIL (Islamic State).”
Another critic of Hagel was Arizona governor John McCain, who felt Hagel was not an effective defense secretary.
“Ultimately, the president needs to realize that the real source of his current failures on national security more often lie with his administration’s misguided policies and the role played by his White House in devising and implementing them,” said McCain.
McCain said Hagel himself was dissatisfied with his role in the Obama administration. McCain said Hagel “was frustrated with aspects of the administration’s national security policy and decision-making process,” and Obama’s ” micromanaging” during his tenure.
Hagel had to deal with reducing troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq when he began his tenure. However, the United States was dragged back into Iraq after ISIS started beheading American citizens in Iraq and Syria.
Hagel and Obama seemed to be at odds over ISIS when it first became a credible terrorist threat. While Obama downplayed the terrorist group at first, Hagel said ISIS was an “imminent threat to every interest we have.” “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen,” added Hagel.
Hagel also had to deal with defense budget cuts during his tenure. Despite the many challenges, those close to Hagel felt he performed well as defense secretary.
“The bottom line is that Chuck Hagel took over at possibly the worst time anyone has seen in the last 20 years,” said Vikram Singh, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense who served under Hagel. “Given the state of affairs, I think he’s done a creditable job. .?.?I think that he chose to be the quiet warrior and some people wanted a cheerleader.”