DoD Secretary’s Chief Of Staff Leaving Pentagon As Tensions With Iran Escalate

Defense Secretary Chief of Staff Eric Chewning.Screengrab/Defense and Aerospace Report/YouTube


Eric Chewning's exit marks the sixth high-profile resignation at the Pentagon in the past month.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s chief of staff reportedly will leave the Defense Department at the end of January, as tensions have escalated sharply between the United States and Iran.

According to Defense News, Eric Chewning — who served as chief of staff under acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan as well as the current secretary — will be replaced by Jen Stewart, who currently serves as minority staff director for the House Armed Services Committee.

“I’m grateful for Eric’s professionalism, judgment, and leadership over the last seven months as I moved into the Secretary of Defense role,” Esper said in a statement to Defense News. “In an incredibly demanding job, Eric has been a source of calm and tireless work. We wish him all the best upon his return to the private sector.”

Chewning’s exit marks the sixth high-profile resignation at the Pentagon in the past month; however, Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said the department “continues to bring in high quality personnel" to fill vacancies.

“This week three new Senate-confirmed appointees will be sworn in, while three nominees await Senate action, and additional nominations are expected in coming weeks,” Farah said. “Also this week, four new senior [Senior Executive Service] appointees will be sworn in, joining approximately a dozen senior SES leaders brought into the Department in the last few months of 2019.”

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