Top Pentagon official announces resignation, second within week

The Pentagon’s top official in charge of personnel and readiness resigned from his post on Friday after a little over a year on the job, making him the second top official this week to say they would step down.

"Today, I accepted the resignation of Jimmy Stewart, who has been performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness,” Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperFirst US service member dies from coronavirus Pentagon orders military bases to stop releasing specific COVID-19 numbers Overnight Defense: Pentagon orders bases to stop reporting coronavirus numbers | Hospital ship arrives in NY | Marines pause sending new recruits to boot camp | Defense bill work delayed MORE said in a statement.

The Defense chief did not give a reason as to why Stewart was leaving.

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Stewart was confirmed as the assistant secretary of Defense for manpower and reserve affairs in October 2018 and also filled the under secretary role since then.

Esper called that role “critical to the National Defense Strategy, in support of our families and readiness” and praised Stewart for leaving retirement to take on the job “after having served 37 years in the Air Force.”

“It's people like Jimmy, the selfless individuals who put service before self, who are the backbone of this country. I thank Jimmy and his family for their service to the department and the Nation, and wish him the best in his retirement.”

Air Force Under Secretary Matthew Donovan will take over as acting under secretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, according to the statement.

Stewart’s resignation comes a day after the Pentagon confirmed that its that its top Asia policy official, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver, plans to leave the department after being in the role since January 2018.