Tradition is that it’s best not to have a long period of lame-duckery at the Pentagon. Usually, when a defense secretary is fired, a replacement — either a deputy moving up or someone coming in — is promptly installed.

Chatter has it that the Team Obama is getting close to nominating someone to replace outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The list, with former undersecretary Michele Flournoy quickly taking herself out of consideration last week, reportedly includes former deputy secretary Ash Carter, current deputy Robert Work or Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

But it’s already been a week.

When President Gerald Ford bounced Secretary James Schlesinger in the famous “Halloween Massacre” in 1975, he immediately replaced him with then-White House chief of staff Donald Rumsfeld.

When President George W. Bush fired Rumsfeld right after what he called a “thumping” in the 2006 midterm elections, he had already picked former CIA director and then President of Texas A&M University, Robert M. Gates, as his successor.

But, while a week is hardly a long time for the post to be left with a lame duck in charge without a named successor, Hagel has been on the outs with the White House team for some time. And it would not have made for good optics to fire him just before the election.

Still, to resign Hagel shortly after the “Great Shellacking” — almost as if he were the one person in the administration most responsible for the crushing election defeat — seemed a bit odd given that no replacement was ready to go.