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Pentagon chief of staff Kevin Sweeney resigns

Kevin Sweeney has resigned as Pentagon chief of staff after serving the defense secretary for two years....

Posted: Jan 7, 2019 12:55 PM
Updated: Jan 7, 2019 12:55 PM

Kevin Sweeney has resigned as Pentagon chief of staff after serving the defense secretary for two years.

"I've decided the time is right to return to the private sector. It has been an honor to serve again alongside the men and women of the Department of Defense," Sweeney said in a short statement posted on the Department of Defense website late Saturday night.

Defense departments

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Government organizations - US

International relations and national security

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US Department of Defense

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James Mattis

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Donald Trump

A knowledgeable source told CNN's Jake Tapper that the White House forced Sweeney out. The source did not provide further information about the reason.

On Sunday, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan praised Sweeney in a pair of tweets, writing that "we're going to miss him here at the Pentagon."

"I greatly appreciate Kevin Sweeney's service to our nation, first as a Navy officer of more than 30 years, and then as the Chief of Staff for the Secretary of Defense for the past two years," Shanahan wrote in a tweet.

"As he steps down to reenter the private sector, we're going to miss him here in the Pentagon," he said in a second tweet. "We know great things are in store for him and his family."

Sweeney, who retired as a rear admiral in 2014, served under former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who announced his resignation December 20 on the heels of President Donald Trump's plans to withdraw troops from Syria.

"Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position," Mattis wrote in his letter to the President.

Trump said he moved Mattis' departure date up to January 1, two months earlier than originally planned.

Mattis is the latest senior administration to leave Trump's Cabinet. Jeff Sessions was pushed out as attorney general the day after the midterm elections in November, Rex Tillerson was unceremoniously fired as secretary of state in March and national security adviser H.R. McMaster was replaced.

Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White announced last month that she's leaving her post, a move that coincided with Mattis stepping down. There was also an internal Defense Department investigation into her conduct.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
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Colbert329642
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Russell22383
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Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
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Randolph104921
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Washington92219
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Henry8756
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Monroe79011
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Macon74522
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