WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has concluded it's an "appropriate time" for him to complete his service.
Obama says Hagel will stay in place at the Pentagon until a successor is confirmed.
Hagel has had a rocky tenure of nearly two years in which he's struggled to break through the White House's insular foreign policy team. He stepped down under pressure amid multiple foreign policy crises, including the rise of the Islamic State group.
But in remarks at the White House Monday, Obama called Hagel "an exemplary defense secretary" and steady hand for strategy and budget. Obama said he'll always be grateful that Hagel has always "given it to me straight."