So, Hagel is out. He is evidently the loser in a struggle between the military leadership and the Children's Crusaders at the White House and State Department. The military want more clearly defined goals across the Islamic culture continent and "the kids" want to run foreign affairs on the basis of the crap they write in magic marker on white boards in their seminars.
The armed forces are being asked to assume larger and larger missions in the Middle East, Afghanistan and West Africa. At the same time the money needed to maintain DoD operations and perform such functions as Strategic Triad modernization has largely disappeared in the welter of sequestration and general reductions in budget.
Understandably the generals and admirals are pushing back and the constitutional way for them to do that is through the civilian head of the Department of Defense.
The back pressure was probably displayed last week in a loosening of ROE in Afghanistan.
Obama, true to his nature, will, IMO, choose someone to replace Hagel who will not challenge him and who will "play nice" with the other boys and girls without regard to the realities of life.
That woman is likely to be Michele Flournoy. This woman is just another member of the Washington/New York playcircle of academics who think they understand war. pl