Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel arrives to testify before the House Armed Services Committee on the fiscal year 2014 National Defense Authorization Budget Request at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington D.C., April 11, 2013. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey and Under Secretary of Defense-Comptroller Robert Hale joined Hagel for the testimony. (DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)(Released)

Chuck Hagel stepped down Monday as Secretary of Defense and the rumor mill has already begun to swirl.

While a successor is on the horizon, very little else, including budgets and other policies, are expected to change, according to National Defense Magazine.

But as rumors swirl about Hagel’s potential successors, defense insiders say it really does not matter who steps in to run the Defense Department because the White House National Security Council is going to continue to set the agenda on most major issues. Further, Hagel’s successor would have limited influence on key issues such as military budgets before a new administration takes over in 2017.

RELATED: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to Step Down

Frontrunners Michele Flournoy and Ash Carter, who served as undersecretaries of defense under Obama, would be safe choices as they both have been confirmed during this administration and have technocrat credentials. “Any of them could do the job, but, frankly, it doesn’t matter who they put in there” because the secretary of defense has so little clout in national security policy, said former Pentagon official Steven Bucci, now a national security policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

For more on Hagel’s resignation, please visit

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