Opinion: He was the Defense Secretary they wanted… now they want someone else?

Contact Jennifer Hutchinson at [email protected].

Jennifer Hutchinson

The dismissal of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel came as quite a shock to many Americans. It was unexpected and left most of asking, why? It’s not like this is the first time we’ve seen a Secretary of Defense being fired, though. We can look back to 2006 when President Bush fired then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for being involved in numerous political blunders, such as leaked photos of Saddam Hussein, losing control of his army, and overall not meeting expectations while in office.

Rumsfeld had lost sight of his duties and wasn’t filling the responsibilities he was appointed to do. However, in this case was it Hagel who was lacking or the administration? Chuck Hagel has been a long-time friend of both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. As a Republican, he voted with Senate Democrats in 2007 for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and later in 2011 called for a final exit from Afghanistan as well.

Hagel shared Obama’s approach of acting cautious and hesitant when it came to engaging in any kind of military force. With that being said, Hagel made sense as Obama’s appointee for Secretary of Defense. He was appointed under the expectation that he would bring our troops home from Afghanistan, as well manage sequestrations of the Pentagon budget—all of which he did. Which begs the question, if Chuck Hagel did everything he was supposed to do, then why is he being fired? As it has come to light, while the matters have for the most part been dealt with in privacy, Hagel has often disagreed with President Obama and referred to the President and his administration as “micro-managing.” Therefore, with the administration receiving a lot of criticism in recent weeks about its handling of national security issues, especially ISIS, they needed to show some kind of effort of correcting the issue.

Unfortunately for Chuck Hagel, the “correction” was his dismissal. It’s clear that it’s not Hagel who is the issue but the White House. His firing only further perpetuates the belief that the presidential administration is more interested in distraction tactics rather than actually dealing with issues. Well now that Hagal is out, who’s going to be in? In cases we’ve seen in the past, there’s always been someone right around the corner to fill the position. However, in this circumstance President Obama was unprepared with no one lined up. After some determination, it looks like former Undersecretary of Defense Ash Carter is expected to be President Obama’s nominee. Hopefully, we’ll see a new Secretary of Defense in soon and really get to dealing with the issues that face the nation.