President Obama: Hagel Is 'No Ordinary Secretary of Defense'

The president delivers remarks following Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's resignation.
11:20 | 11/24/14

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Transcript for President Obama: Hagel Is 'No Ordinary Secretary of Defense'
This is an ABC news. Now reported. George Stephanopoulos. Good morning we're coming and they are right now because pres Obama is about to announce the resignation as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The former senator only Republican on the president's national security team is resigning under some pressure from the president who first broached the subject what they like two weeks ago. This is the first major shake up in the Obama and administration since the mid term election losses. And it comes to the president facing new challenges in Afghanistan the growing threat from crisis in Iraq and Syria as some of the worst poll ratings of his presidency right now. More than half the country disapproves of how the president is handling international affairs. If she Jon Karl the White House challenge on at and all of the president felt he needed to make a change. No question about that George the White House is not saying that hagel was fired but look at the situation here he was clearly not. At the table making the big decisions on national security in this White House in fact just last month he wrote a memo. Just national security advisor Susan Rice expressing great concern of policy toward Syria at policy in the in the battle against ice. And that memo leaked it was reported widely. This was a situation where you not have don't have a real amicable departure of shrill hill nice words about hagel and his management. Of the Pentagon from the president but they were clearly at odds that is clearly what was behind this departure. Cagle has said that he will stay in the job. And tell the president names succession successor is confirmed. By the senate the president not expecting. To announce any successor today he'll be appearing. Here where secretary Haley see other members of the president's desk security there in the next eighteen there in the state dining room right now he could do it. We are going through a general idea Eric Holder by secretary Chuck Hagel. Here comes the president now. More are running please be sued. But a year ago. Secretary of defense Chuck Hagel was visiting our troops in the Republic of Korea. Thanking them for their service and answering their questions and they asked about the usual topics. But our national security. The future of our military. And then one soldier a sergeant from Ohio or Aston. What. Was the most pertinent question of the day which was what was your favorite college football team. To which chuck replied born and raised in Nebraska. I don't have a choice I am a strong. Cornhuskers fans. Now there was a time when and enlisted soldier. Might have been reluctant to aspect got a question of the sector defense. But Chuck Hagel has been no ordinary secretary of defense. The first enlisted combat veteran to serve in that position. He understands. Our men and women like few others because he stood where they stood. He's been in the dirt and he's been in the mark. And that's established a special bond. He sees himself in them. And they see themselves in him. And their safety. Their lives have always been at the center. Of trucks serve us. What I asked chuck to serve as secretary of defense were Amorim. A significant period of transition. The draw down in Afghanistan. The need. To prepare our forces for future missions. And tough fiscal choices to keep our military strong. And -- Over nearly two years truck has been an exemplary. Defense Secretary. Providing a steady hand as we modernize our strategy and budget. Meet long term threats while still responding to immediate challenges like Beisel. And people. Thanks to chuck our military is on a former putting it engaged in these missions and looking ahead to the future. No last month chuck came to me to discuss the final quarter of my presidency. And determine that. Having guided the department through this transition. It was an appropriate time for him. To complete his service. Let me just say the truck it is and has been a great friend of mine I've known him. Admired him entrusted to him for nearly a decade since I was a green behind the ears. Freshman senator. And we were both on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But there's one thing I know about shark it's that he does not make. This or any decision lightly. This decision does not come easily to him but I consider myself. Extraordinarily lucky to have had him by my side for 2 years and I am grateful. The chuck has agreed to stay on until I nominate a successor. And that successor is confirmed by the senate which means that he'll continue to got our troops at this challenging time. All have more opportunity to pay tribute trucks life of service in the days ahead. For now let me just say it that's. Chuck Hagel was devoted himself to our national security. And our men and women in uniform across more than six decades. He volunteered for Vietnam and stills carries the scars and shrapnel. From the battles that he fought. And the VA he fought to give our veterans especially as fellow Vietnam veterans the benefits they had or. As head of the US so he made sure America always honors our troops. As a senator who helped lead the fight for the for the post 9/11 GI bill which is topic so many of our newest veterans and their families realize their dreams of a college education. The secretary chuck has helped transition our military and bolster America's. Leadership around the world. During his tenure Afghan forces took the lead for security in Afghanistan. For forces have drawn down. Our combat mission there ends next month and will partner with Afghans to preserve the gains we have made it. The NATO alliance is as strong as it has ever been. And we have reassured our allies where there are increased presence in central and Eastern Europe. We've modernized our alliances may Asia Pacific. Updated our defense posture and recently agreed to improve communications between the US and Chinese military's. Chuck has been critical to all. These accomplishments. Meanwhile trucks and short that our military is ready for new missions. Today are men and women in uniform are taking the fight against Beisel. In Iraq and Syria and chuck help build an international coalition. To ensure that the world is meeting this threat together. Today our forces are helping support the civilian effort against Ebola in West Africa. A reminder of struck likes to say that America's military as the greatest force for good in the world. Finally in a very difficult budgetary and mark. Chuck has never lost sight of key priorities. You can the readiness of our force and Paul live our life of our troops and their family. He's launched new reforms to ensure that even as our military is leaner it remains the strongest on the world. And so our troops can continue to get the paid. Housing. The health care of the child care that they and their families need. Reforms that we need congress. To now support. The same time. After the tragedies that we've seen chuck has helped lead the effort to improve security that our military installations. And to stamp out the scourge of sexual assault from the ranks. The chuck I also want to thank you all personal. We come from different parties but in accepting this position you send a powerful message especially to folks in this city. For more comes to our national security and caring for our troops and their families we are all Americans first. When I nominate you for this position you said the you'd always give me your honest advice and informed council you have. When it's mattered most. Behind closed doors in the Oval Office you've always given his foot and for that I'll always secret. You know call when I was a nominee in 2008. And and I traveled. To Afghanistan. And Iraq. Chuck Hagel accompany me on that trip along with victory. And it's pretty rare. At a time when. Sometimes this done so politicized. To have a friend. Who. Was willing. To a company a nominee from another party because he understood that. Whoever Libyan rebels most important was. That we were unified when we confronted the challenges we see overseas and that's the kind of class and integrity of the capital's always represented. Not shut yourself that a life's only as good as the family having friends you surround yourself with him in that you are blessed. One Banco rule about. This themselves. And her daughter Fallon for the sacrifices that they've made as well. I know that was reluctant where'd she go bear the equally getting her husband and father back. And I'm sure of the cornhuskers were also happy that. Fan will be there true tomorrow more often. Today the United States of America can probably claim the strongest military the world has ever known. That's the result of the investments made over many decades. The blood and treasure and sacrifices of generations. If the results of the character. And wisdom of those who leave them as well. Including a young army surgeon in Vietnam who rose to serve as our nation's 44 secretary of defense. So on behalf of the word formation they catch up. How about paying tribute to his outgoing Defense Secretary chuck cant go right there are calling him an exemplary. Defense Secretary when bring in our chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz the president praising. Chuck Hagel they're very elaborate. Praise but there are some echoes here. The last time a defense or he left after midterm elections Donald Rumsfeld George W. Bush. Our right after the midterm I think there are differences George the war at that time was going disastrously. And George Bush. Wanted a big change it's ironic you know Jon Karl was saying that such Cagle was not making those big decisions that probably. Led to those bad poll numbers and yet he is the one. Who is clearly being pushed out we'll have all eyes on who that replacement might Ian right now the names are on the show floor and aren't who was at the Pentagon. Before and ash Carter both at the Pentagon both Obama loyalists. OK Martha Raddatz thanks very much for me if you ever turn out of regular programs for maybe that is GMA news and a complete wrap up tonight on world news and Daily Mirror. Novelist anytime an abcnews.com. I'm George Stephanopoulos in New York have a good day. This has been a special for me it's.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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