Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel listens as President Barack Obama talks about Hagel's resignation during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Nov. 24, 2014. (AP/Susan Walsh)
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U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned Monday, leaving under pressure as President Barack Obama faces critical national security challenges, including fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria and revising plans to exit Afghanistan.Hagel was appointed less than two years ago as Obama pushed his signature program of winding down wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a process now being upended with U.S. re-engagement in Iraq and greater military cooperation with Kabul.Hagel submitted his resignation letter after lengthy discussions with Obama that began in October, officials said.Hagel, the only enlisted combat veteran to serve as defense secretary, ran into a wave of opposition when Obama, a Democrat, nominated him.Hagel, who became an outspoken critic of the administration of President George W. Bush, had also upset many in his party by endorsing Obama in his presidential race against Republican Senator John McCain in 2008 .
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