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3 top Pentagon officials suddenly resign a day after Trump fired Esper

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper holds an end of year press conference at the Pentagon on Dec. 20, 2019 in Arlington, Va. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)
November 10, 2020

Three Pentagon officials resigned from the Pentagon on Tuesday, just one day after Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

“Today, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. James Anderson, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Mr. Joseph Kernan and Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense, Jen Stewart submitted letters of resignation,” the Pentagon said in a statement provided to American Military News.

All three officials’ resignations are effective today.

The Pentagon said that Kernan’s resignation was planned for several months. They did not, however, note that Anderson or Stewart’s resignations were planned.

Defense officials told Politico that Anderson stepped down after “repeated disagreements with the White House personnel office.”

Acting Secretary of Defense Miller remarked on the resignations, saying, “I want to thank Dr. Anderson, Admiral Kernan and Jen Stewart for their service to the nation and the Department.  Over their careers each has contributed greatly to the national defense and the future of the Department of Defense. We wish them the best in their next endeavors.”

Anderson, who was in his position for nine months, will be replaced with retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata.

“I am particularly grateful to have been entrusted with leading the dedicated men and women of Policy, who play a key role in our Nation’s security,” Anderson wrote in his resignation letter, which was obtained by Politico. “Now, as ever, our long-term success depends on adhering to the U.S. Constitution all public servants swear to support and defend.”

Stewart will be replaced with Kash Patel, and Kernan will be replaced with Ezra Cohen-Watnick.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith said the resignation of Anderson was alarming.

“It is hard to overstate just how dangerous high-level turnover at the Department of Defense is during a period of presidential transition. The top policy professional in the Department resigning the day after the Secretary of Defense was fired could mark the beginning of a process of gutting the DoD – something that should alarm all Americans,” Smith said in a statement provided to American Military News.