Wednesday, 11 November 2020 – 13:27
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The civilian leadership of the Pentagon resigned on Tuesday after US President Donald Trump on Monday threw out Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who this summer opposed sending military units to quell race unrest.
According to a Pentagon statement, the senior officials who have resigned are the Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, James Anderson; the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, Joseph Kernan; and the Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Defense, Jen Stewart.
The note explains that Anderson submitted his resignation letter to Trump on Wednesday and that his departure became effective today, thus assuming his responsibilities as undersecretary of defense for politics, Anthony Tata, who until now had worked in that section of the Pentagon as a high-ranking official.
According to the text, Kernan also delivered his letter to inform him of his resignation today, although, according to the Defense Department, he had been planning it for months.
His functions as Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security are now taken Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who until now had served as Acting Deputy Secretary for Low Intensity Conflicts.
Like the other two officials, Stewart’s resignation occurred on Tuesday and will be replaced as Chief of Staff of the Department of Defense by Kash Patel, who has served on the staff of the White House National Security Council.
According to the newspaper The Wall Street Journal, Patel is a fervent advocate for the causes of the Trump Administration.
His arrival at the Pentagon is an indication to some that with him the White House has one foot at the top of the Defense Department.
The position of Chief of Staff of the Secretary of Defense is the most important position reserved for civilians in the Pentagon, because it is the one who sets the agenda of the Secretary of Defense.
For its part, the medium Foreign Policy, which cited three sources familiar with these movements, indicated that the case of Anderson, who worked for the Administration of George W. Bush (2001-2009), has been a dismissal after a “tumultuous” relationship with the Trump White House.
His successor, Tata, is a Trump loyalist, a former Fox News contributor and has supported conspiracy theories in the past. He will now serve as the Pentagon’s chief policy officer, after he was last summer rejected for the Senate seat for his Islamophobic and conspiratorial comments.
The Department of Defense noted in its note that, following the appointment on Monday of the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Chris Miller, as acting Secretary of Defense, he went to work immediately and that the Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist will remain in office.
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