Top Defense Department official resigns at Trump’s request: Report

A top Defense Department official said to have been standing in the way of Donald Trump’s agenda has reportedly tendered his resignation at the president’s request, Bloomberg News reported.

John Rood, soon to be the former under secretary of Defense for policy at the Pentagon, acknowledged the request in a letter to the president that announced he would leave his senior position at the department — which he has held since January of 2018 — as of Feb. 28.

“It’s my understanding from Secretary [Mark] Esper that you requested my resignation from serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy,” Rood reportedly wrote in the letter to Trump. “I leave with the utmost admiration for the outstanding team with which I worked at the Defense Department.”

Rood is out

President Trump appears to have accepted Rood’s resignation in a tweet posted on Wednesday that expressed gratitude for his service and wished him the best going forward.

According to multiple unnamed officials at the Defense Department, Rood was asked to resign after he had lost the confidence of the president and other senior national security officials in his ability to carry out Trump’s policy agenda in an efficient and timely fashion.

One of the potential reasons for his requested departure was the fact that Rood had signed off on a certification to Congress in May of 2019 on the military aid to Ukraine that was later placed temporarily on hold by the administration over corruption concerns.

Performance concerns

In his role at the Pentagon, Rood served as a liaison between senior civilian and military leaders in implementing the administration’s defense policies. However, sources said that Rood was taking too long to translate the president’s agenda into actual policy.

Reports also suggested that he had exhibited poor leadership skills, which had led to an exodus of top staff from the department, according to Foreign Policy.

Rood will reportedly be replaced on an interim acting basis by Deputy Under Secretary of Defense James Anderson until a permanent replacement can be named.

Shuffling the deck

Rood’s departure from the Pentagon comes amid other personnel shuffles within the administration in the wake of the failed impeachment effort, such as the removal of Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his twin brother, Yevgeny Vindman, from the National Security Council as well as the recall of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

There will undoubtedly be other mid- to high-level officials who will be fired, asked to resign, or transferred to other agencies and departments as the president and his team continue to assess the effectiveness of administration members in furthering the president’s policy goals.

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