WASHINGTON — The New York Times reported today that Chuck Hagel, Obama’s secretary at the Department of Defense, will resign. Hagel has served in that capacity since 2012.
The Times article noted Hagel had not been sharp in his confirmation hearings, where U.S. Senators questioned him and he gave tepid answers. One of the more telling parts of the article detailed how Hagel’s timid nature benefited Obama:
“…his detractors said he struggled to inspire confidence at the Pentagon in the manner of his predecessors, especially Robert M. Gates. But several of Mr. Obama’s top advisers over the past few months have 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 whom the president, after battling the military during his first term, wanted.”
Adding insult to injury, critics said Hagel was inarticulate and reporters could not explain what he said. The article said, “But Mr. Hagel has often had problems articulating his thoughts — or administration policy — in an effective manner, and has sometimes left reporters struggling to describe what he has said in news conferences.”
Possible replacements, as the article suggested, are “Michèle Flournoy, the former under secretary of defense; Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and a former officer with the Army’s 82nd Airborne; and Ashton B. Carter, a former deputy secretary of defense.”