The officials say the White House has lost confidence in Hagel to carry out his role at the Pentagon. According to one senior official, “He wasn’t up to the job.”
What? Hagel wasn’t up to the job? You could knock me over with a feather!
The fact that Hagel wasn’t up to the job was obvious, and was illustrated in full glory during his confirmation hearing. He was confirmed for the sole reason that he was thought to carry some political benefit: a Republican to sell Obama’s weak defense policies.
All we’re seeing here is the White House determining that he carries no political advantage commensurate with his incompetence.
UPDATE: This is really telling:
While aides described the departure as a mutual decision based on shifting priorities at the Department of Defense, there are signs that tensions between Hagel and the White House contributed to the personnel change. . . Ultimately Hagel believed the pivot to combating ISIS represented a dramatic change from the types of reforms he had hoped to accomplish during his tenure at the Pentagon, aides said.
White House and Defense officials said Hagel was tapped to spearhead efforts like combating sexual assault in the ranks and trimming the Pentagon’s budget to deal with sequestration.
Obama was okay with Hagel when Hagel’s job was to impose the president’s agenda on the military. But when the military actually had to do some national defense, Hagel had to go.