Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has resigned, US officials said on Monday, ending nearly two years in the Pentagon's top job after a bruising mid-term election that undermined President Barack Obama's Democrats in Congress.
Hagel, who had struggled to improve his ties with Congress after a contentious 2013 confirmation hearing, submitted his resignation letter after lengthy discussions with Obama that began in October, officials said.
"A successor will be named in short order, but Secretary Hagel will remain as Defecse Secretary until his replacement is confirmed by the United States Senate," a senior Obama administration official said.
Hagel had raised questions about Obama's strategy toward Syria in a two-page internal policy memo he wrote that leaked. In it, he warned that Obama's policy was in jeopardy due to its failure to clarify its intentions toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Obama has insisted that the United States can go after Islamic State militants without addressing Assad, who the United States would like to leave power.
Officials said Obama wanted fresh leadership during the final two years of his administration.
"What I can tell you is there are no policy differences in the background of this decision," a senior US defense official said.
"The secretary is not resigning in protest and he's not being 'fired'," the official said. – Reuters, November 24, 2014.