Washington DC, Nov 10 (efe-epa).- The administration of outgoing United States president Donald Trump on Tuesday installed three of his allies in key positions of the Pentagon on Tuesday, dismantling the civilian leadership structure.
The move came a day after Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who this summer opposed sending military units to quell racial justice riots, and as the president refused to concede defeat against his Democratic rival in the presidential election, Joe Biden.
Three top officials resigned after the firing of Esper. According to the Department of Defense, they were Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, James Anderson; the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, Joseph Kernan; and the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense, Jen Stewart.
Anderson submitted his resignation letter to Trump on Tuesday and his departure is effective Wednesday, the Defense statement said, paving the way for retired brigadier general Anthony Tata, who until now had worked in that section of the Pentagon as a high-ranking official, to take over.
Kernan also delivered his letter of resignation Tuesday, although, according to the Defense Department, he had had it “planned for several months.”
His duties as under secretary of defense for intelligence and security are taken over by Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who had been acting assistant secretary for special operation and low intensity conflict.
Like the other two officials, Stewart’s resignation also took place Tuesday and she will be replaced as the defense secretary’s chief of staff by Kash Patel, who has been part of the staff of the White House National Security Council.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Patel is a fervent defender of the Trump administration’s causes.
The position of chief of staff to the secretary of defense is the most important position reserved for civilians in the Pentagon, as it is this person that sets the agenda of the secretary of defense.
Meanwhile, online magazine Foreign Policy, which cited three sources familiar with the department’s moves, reported that Anderson, who worked for the George W. Bush Administration (2001-2009), was fired after a “tumultuous” relationship with the White House after he had opposed a series of Trump appointees seen as loyal to the administration.
His successor, Tata, is a Trump loyalist, a former Fox News contributor and has in the past pushed conspiracy theories. He will now serve as the Pentagon’s chief policy officer, after he was rejected by the Senate for the job last summer over Islamophobic comments.
The Department of Defense noted in its statement that after National Counter Terrorism Center Director, Chris Miller’s appointment Monday as acting secretary of defense, he went to work immediately, while Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist will remain in his position. EFE-EPA