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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Resigning

WASHINGTON (CN) - As President Barack Obama announced the resignation Monday of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, wire services reported that the departure was forced.

Speaking from the State Dining Room on Monday, Obama noted that "for nearly two years Chuck has been an exemplary defense secretary."

Obama said that Hagel, 68, came to him "in the last month" about resigning in this, the final quarter of Obama's presidency.

The New York Times and others meanwhile reported that the military crisis brought about by the terrorist group ISIS is believed to have a role in Obama's request for Hagel's resignation.

Hagel, the only Republican member of Obama's cabinet, will remain in office until his replacement is appointed and confirmed by Congress.

The resignation comes in the same month that Obama tapped U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as attorney general.

Holder meanwhile on Monday announced the resignation of U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy with Western District of Virginia.

No reason was given for the departure of Heaphy, whom Holder praised as "a key national leader on a host of pressing criminal justice issues."

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