United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Monday that he his stepping down from his role, less than two years after taking it on.
According to a New York Times report, Hagel accepted US President Barack Obama's request for him to resign - marking him as the first cabinet-level casualty following the collapse of the Democratic party's majority in the Senate.
The decision to ask Hagel to step down was made last Friday after a series of meeting in the past two weeks, senior administration officials said.
The officials described Obama's decision to remove Hagel as recognition that the threat of Islamic States requires a different skill set than Hagel can employ. "The next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” one administration official said.
The source stressed that Hagel was not being dismissed by Obama. Rather, the two men agreed mutually that it was time for Hagel to leave.
Despite this claim, Hagel's resignation points to White House sensitivity to critics who have called out the government's responses to several national security issues, including the Ebola outbreak and the threat posed by the terrorist group, Islamic State.
The President is expected to officially announce Hagel's resignation with a statement to the media later Monday at a Rose Garden appearance.