Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a former Georgetown professor, announced his resignation at a press conference at the White House Monday morning.

“It’s been the greatest privilege of my life — the greatest privilege of my life to lead, and most important, to serve — to serve with the men and women of the Defense Department and support their families. I am immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished during this time,” Hagel said in prepared remarks at the press conference.

Neither President Barack Obama, who introduced Hagel’s resignation and thanked him for his time in office, nor Hagel offered a specific reason for the secretary’s departure.

“Last month, Chuck came to me to discuss the final quarter of my presidency and determined that having guided the department through this transition, it was an appropriate time for him to complete his service,” Obama said.

According to The Washington Post, rumors had been circulating about Hagel’s impending departure for a month. The secretary, who faced a difficult confirmation process in 2013, was chosen primarily to advance the White House’s focus on limiting defense spending and pivoting from the Middle East to East Asia. However, the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the consequential authorization of airstrikes by the president have complicated these efforts.

Hagel noted that he will continue to serve as secretary until the Senate confirms his successor. His resignation comes two months after that of Attorney General Eric Holder in September. Obama nominated Loretta Lynch as Holder’s successor, pending congressional confirmation.

After serving as a Nebraska senator for two terms from 1996 to 2008, Hagel joined the faculty of the School of Foreign Service in February 2009. He taught an undergraduate seminar entitled 21st Century Geopolitical Realities in the spring and a graduate seminar entitled Redefining Geopolitical Relationships in the fall.

Hagel did not announce his future plans after leaving office.

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