US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel to resign

Secretary of Defense - Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagel

Washington (IANS): US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel will step down from his post after coming under pressure from President Barack Obama, The New York Times reported Monday.

The president is expected to announce Hagel’s resignation in a Rose Garden appearance Monday, the daily said, adding that the removal of Hagel – the sole Republican on his national security team – is the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate.

The decision was taken last Friday after a series of meetings over the past two weeks, the prestigious daily quoted senior administration officials as saying.

The officials said that Obama’s decision to remove Hagel, 68, was due to a recognition that the threat from the Sunni radical group Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Hagel has brought on to employ, the report said.