Pentagon's No. 2 policy official to retire

Pentagon's No. 2 policy official to retire
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The Pentagon’s No. 2 policy official will resign on Friday, adding to a list of vacancies in the building’s top leadership roles.

Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy David Trachtenberg is retiring, with a replacement to be named at a “later time,” Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Carla Gleason confirmed to The Hill.

Defense News first reported his departure.


Trachtenberg has been in role since October 2017 and was confirmed in a 70-17 Senate vote.

Before that, he was the president and CEO of Shortwaver, a national security consultancy, and also worked in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. He served as a principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for international security policy and was a staff member with the House Armed Services Committee.

With Trachtenberg leaving the Pentagon has another vacancy in its top leadership ranks, an issue senators earlier this week expressed frustration over during Defense Secretary nominee Mark Esper’s confirmation hearing.  

“There is a staggering number of senior-level civilian vacancies throughout the department,” Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack ReedJack ReedOvernight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Biden taps tech CEO, former destroyer commander to lead Navy Top general: Military justice overhaul proposed by Gillibrand 'requires some detailed study' MORE (D-R.I.). “I’m concerned that the Defense Department is adrift in a way I’ve not seen in my whole time on Capitol Hill.”

Esper assured lawmakers that he had met with White House officials a day prior and “went down the list of the 14 current slots that do not have a Senate-confirmed person and talked about each, and obviously I urged them to help us push folks through.”

Still unfilled on a permanent basis are roles including deputy Defense secretary, Army secretary, Air Force secretary, chief management officer, deputy chief management officer, principal deputy assistant secretary for international security affairs, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low intensity conflict, and assistant secretary for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs.