Chuck Hagel is stepping down as Defense Secretary under pressure

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 – The Washington Times 

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) listens as Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey (R) speaks during a briefing on the Defense Department's FY2014 budget at the Pentagon, Apr. 10, 2013.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) listens as Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey (R) speaks during a briefing on the Defense Department’s FY2014 budget at the Pentagon, Apr. 10, 2013.
WASHINGTON D.C. – Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is stepping down, The New York Times reported Monday.

President Obama asked the sole Republican on his national security to step down Friday after a series of meetings over the past several weeks and plans to announced the resignation Monday in the Rose Garden, the paper reported.

An administration official told the paper that it was Mr. Hagel, a former U.S. senator who was confirmed last year after a bruising confirmation process, who initiated talks about his future a few weeks ago and that he and Mr. Obama mutually agreed it was time for him to leave.

Mr. Hagel leaves for the next Defense Secretary a host of issues to confront, notably the Obama administration’s military campaign against the Islamic State terrorist group.

The New York Times reported that possible replacements include Michele Flournoy, the former under secretary of defense; Sen. Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and a former officer with the Army’s 82nd Airborne; and Ashton B. Carter, a former deputy secretary of defense.