Army secretary to step down

Army secretary to step down
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Army Secretary John McHugh will step down from his post by November, the Department of Defense announced Monday.

"Secretary McHugh has been a tremendous public servant for decades, and he has helped lead the Army through a period of challenge and change," Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said in a statement.

"There will be much time in the coming months to appropriately celebrate his many accomplishments, but for now I will just say that every soldier is better off because of his hard work and vision, and so is the country."

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The Pentagon added that McHugh told Carter of his intentions "several weeks ago."

The DOD said McHugh has "expressed his gratitude to the president and his appreciation to the secretary of defense and, most importantly, the men and women of the United States Army for the tremendous honor to serve as Secretary for these many years."

McHugh, a former Republican congressman from New York, served stints as ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee and a member of the Intelligence Committee. He resigned from Congress to serve in the Obama administration.

He has served since September 2009 and is the only person President Obama has nominated to be Army secretary. Pete Geren, his predecessor, was a holdover from the George W. Bush administration. McHugh made headlines in 2010, when he told reporters that he wouldn't follow the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy as the administration looked to repeal it. He said punishing soldiers for speaking "openly and honestly" would be "counterproductive."

— This report was updated at 12:05 p.m.