"Hagel not only helped Obama gain cover on national security matters, and gain confidence, but also saw the world in a somewhat similar way," said Michael O'Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution. "And, of course, back in 2006, 2007, 2008, Obama needed people like Hagel to vouch for his bona fides."
Slowing the Islamic State's advances "shows that we have been successful with the easier, first stage," said Michael O'Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution. "The hard part, as predicted, is taking territory back. Air power can't, won't do it."