Hagel exit marks first major Obama cabinet change since midterms
2:05pm EST - 01:42
President Barack Obama accepted on Monday the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. His short tenure was marked by a shrinking budget and Obama's end game in two wars. Nathan Frandino reports.
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After less than two years leading the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is on his way out.
President Barack Obama announced the resignation at the White House.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING:
"Last month, Chuck came to me to discuss the final quarter of my presidency and determined that having guided the department through this transition, it was an appropriate time for him to complete his service."
Hagel's departure marks the first major change to Obama's cabinet since Democrats were routed in midterm elections three weeks ago.
During the White House event, Hagel said he was grateful for the experience.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) OUTGOING DEFENSE SECRETARY CHUCK HAGEL SAYING:
"It's been the greatest privilege of my life -- the greatest privilege of my life to lead and most important, to serve -- to serve with the men and women of the Defense Department and support their families."
Hagel's tenure began in 2013 during a tumultuous time, with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq winding down amid major budget cuts at the Pentagon.
The situation in Syria is also said to have been a divisive issue between Hagel and the administration.
Hagel had warned in a memo leaked this fall that Obama's policy of attacking Islamic State without addressing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was in jeopardy.
Hagel will remain in the job until a successor is in place.
Top potential candidates to replace Hagel include former under secretary of defense Michele Flournoy, former deputy secretary of defense Ashton Carter, and Rhode Island Democratic Senator Jack Reed.
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