U.S. President Barack Obama (R) greets Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel after announcing Hagel's resignation at the White House in Washington, November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing
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U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned Monday, the first major change to President Barack Obama's Cabinet since his Democrats were routed in midterm elections three weeks ago.Obama announced the resignation at a White House event with Hagel at his side. Hagel was appointed less than two years ago as Obama pushed his signature program of winding up wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a process that is being upended this year with U.S. re-engagement in Iraq and greater military cooperation with Kabul.Hagel, who was 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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