defense secretary chuck hagel is resigning

Chuck Hagel quit as US defence secretary after less than two years.

President Obama confirmed that he was leaving office and praised his “class and integrity.”

Mr. Hagel, 68, who served in the Vietnam War and was a Republican senator, said it was the “greatest privilege” of his life.

Last month, it was said that he was very critical of the way the US was dealing with Islamic State and the Syrian government.

He will keep his job as secretary until his replacement is officially chosen.

An official who didn’t want to be named told the Associated Press that both Hagel and Obama agreed “it was time for new leadership at the Pentagon” and had been talking about the move for weeks.

Mr. Obama said that Mr. Hagel had come to see him talk about “the right time to end his service.”

The US president said he was “fortunate” to have Mr. Hagel as his defense secretary and praised him for building solid relationships with US troops.

Mr. Hagel is the first enlisted combat veteran to serve in this position.

In a short statement, Mr. Hagel said, “It has been the greatest honour of my life to lead the men and women of the Defense Department and, most importantly, to serve them.”

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