The name of the new US defense secretary will be announced on Friday, December 5, the White House announced on Thursday. Before the official announcement of the identity of its successor, Chuck Hagel insisted on clarifying the reasons for his departure. According to The New York Times, it is Barack Obama who asked him to leave his post on November 24, due to differences over US strategy in the fight against the Islamic state.
A dispute that the future former Secretary of Defense denies. “There were no major differences in any field,” said he at the press conference.
“We both came to the conclusion that the country, in my opinion, deserved a new direction (…) One must know when it is the right time to leave.”
Contention on Syria
At the announcement of departure of Chuck Hagel, the White House had insisted on the need for a renewal of the head of the Pentagon, especially seeing that the United States face many challenges in the international arena, particularly in the fight against the group of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
In an internal memo of two pages cited early in November by the New York Times, Mr Hagel questioned the validity and the chances of success of the strategy of the president in Syria, saying that his position on the fate of Bashar al Assad was unclear.
“Only two people know what we have said, the president and myself,” insisted Mr. Hagel, sweeping “all speculation.”
Carter is the most probable successor of Hagel
His successor, Ashton Carter, 60, who was Assistant Secretary of Defense of Leon Panetta between October 2011 and December 2013, is considered the favorite for the post. The White House has not explicitly confirmed the appointment but praised his “keen understanding” of the Ministry of Defense and recalled that his appointment as number two in the Pentagon was confirmed unanimously by the Senate in September 2011.
Michele Flournoy, a former Pentagon favorite figure number three who was to replace him, and become the first woman to head the US military, has withdrawn from the race, highlighting family reasons.