In the first major cabinet shakeup since Democrats suffered a drubbing in this year’s midterms, Chuck Hagel will reportedly step down as Defense Secretary.
The New York Times reported that President Obama asked Hagel to step down from his post last Friday, with senior administration officials characterizing the move “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.”
One senior defense official told NBC News that Hagel was forced out because, “He wasn’t up to the job.”
Obama is expected to announce Hagel’s resignation at 11:10 a.m. ET on Monday in the White House.
More from the Times:
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.
But Mr. Hagel’s aides had maintained in recent weeks that he expected to serve the full four years term as defense secretary. His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis to the threat posed by the Islamic State militant group.
This post has been updated.
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