There have been mixed reactions to Chuck Hagel’s resignation in Washington. Some said it showed a lack of strategy at the White House while others said Obama had been keen to appoint someone more incisive who can deliver a military win.
One voter anticipated little change at the top: “I don’t think policy will change tremendously. I think there is a direction the White House wants to go, the president wants to go, and he’ll find someone to continue that work.”
Another expressed his disappointment; Hagel is respected by veterans of military service, being the first US Defense Secretary to have served in combat as an enlisted soldier (in Vietnam).
“It’s wrong, very wrong. Sorry for the emotion, but that’s how I feel.”
Friends of Hagel claim he had become frustrated with the strategy changes towards Iraq and Syria and his lack of influence over decision making.
Heather Conley, senior analyst at the Center for Strategic & International Studies assessed Hagel’s performance in the job: “I think he (Hagel) tried to do his best. Some have suggested the energy level may not have been where it needed to be. But in comparison to Secretary Bob Gates, to Secretary Leon Panetta, these were more high-profile figures, in many ways you associated policy with these individuals, that was really not the case with Secretary Hagel.”
Reporting for euronews from Washington, Stefan Grobe said: “Barack Obama will soon appoint the fourth Defense Secretary of his presidency – and Senate Republicans will use the nomination hearing to assail Obama’s strategy in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq – or the lack thereof. Whoever wants Hagel’s job must win over Washington power brokers as well as the respect of the men and women in uniform.”
Obama has not so far named Hagel’s replacement. Once he does, that person will have to be confirmed by the Senate.
Among those being considered is Michele Flournoy, the former Pentagon policy chief during Obama’s first term. If nominated and confirmed she would become the first female US defence secretary.