Chuck Hagel Steps Down As Secretary of Defense
Bll Collier- In a move that was as sudden as it was unexpected, Chuck Hagel offered his resignation on the morning of November 24, 2014 to the President, effective immediately. Hagel has only been at his post since 2013 and his tenure was rather short.
It is believed that the sudden move was meant to allow a replacement candidate under the lame duck Congress, a candidate who will fit more with the pacific policies of the Administration. Hagel had been more of a hawk and had repeatedly suggested that the fight against ISIS might require ground forces. It is also believed by insiders that Hagel resisted the talks with Iran, talks over their nuclear weapons program which are currently at an impasse.
The new nominee is expected to be someone who might be less attractive to the GOP, owing to their pacific intentions and possibly their lack of experience with defense or military matters. Increasingly this more pacific Administration has bucked heads with top military brass, and although there has been quite a turnover in both the Department of Defense and the Pentagon, the President has not been satisfied that the upper ranks have not embraced or backed his broad sweeping policies which involve a far less aggressive foreign policy stance and a reduction in military manpower and capability. The President has focused more on diplomatic ties and economic leverage and tends to eschew either using military force or the threat of military force.
Within the military, the popularity of Hagel and the President, the civilian leadership, has hovered at around 20% to 30%, which many see as understandable due to the deep and ongoing cutbacks. The new Secretary of Defense will continue the previous policies of the Administration and it is expected that they will be more in lockstep with the core beliefs of the Commander in Chief.
While Republicans have threatened to block all nominees by the President over his use of what they call “executive amnesty” for 4-5 million illegal immigrants, they have stated that they would not block nominees who are vital to national security.
Within the Defense establishment there are growing concerns that the pacific policies and the force reductions in the face of Russian and Chinese military expansion is beginning to seriously undermine America’s global military standing. Others, however, are convinced that the US military would have to be reduced by over half to reach a point where it could not handle any potential foreign threat. A third school of thought believes that the overall military budget is bloated due to a combination of a top-heavy administrative and logistics organization and over-inflated prices for military equipment by the defense industry in general.
It is generally believed that this move is part of a larger effort by the Administration to gain complete control over foreign policy, putting and end to contradictory messaging, and pursuing their deep felt convictions regarding diplomacy and economics as better tools than force or the threat of force much more consistently and un-apologetically.