Congressional Reaction to Hagel Resignation

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s resignation on Monday did not arrive completely by surprise, as reports suggested Hagel was at odds with other members of President Obama’s national security staff. Hagel’s dedication to the security of the United States was steadfast, said retiring Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) in a statement. “I commend him on a lifetime of service to his nation in war and in peace,” said Levin. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is slated to take over the SASC in the next Congress, said he and Hagel had differences but worked well together. “I know that Chuck was frustrated with aspects of the Administration’s national security policy and decision-making process,” said McCain in a statement. McCain added that Hagel’s predecessors also had complained to him about “micromanagement” from the White House, and McCain urged Obama to appoint a new secretary with both independence and good judgment. Outgoing HASC Chair Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) praised Hagel, and said Hagel had the “thankless task” of managing an underfunded Defense Department, growing threats, and an “intrusive White House.”