President Obama will announce Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's resignation later today, according to the New York Times. Obama reportedly asked Hagel to step down last week, in part because of concern that he was mishandling the growth of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

One White House official told the Times that Hagel was not fired, but rather resigned after reaching a mutual agreement with the president. However, senior officials told NBC News that Hagel, a Vietnam veteran and former Republican Senator who has been Defense Secretary since February 2013, was forced to resign.

Obama will make the announcement this morning from the White House's Rose Garden at 11 am, according to Fox News. The Times reports that Sen. Jack Reed, a democrat from Rhode Island and a former Army officer, and Ashton Carter, a former deputy secretary of defense, are the leading candidates to replace Hagel.

[Image via AP]