Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn III announced Thursday his intention to step down following a two-decade career of government service. At the request of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Lynn agreed to remain until a successor is nominated and confirmed, actions expected to be completed by the fall.
“Bill Lynn has provided outstanding advice and counsel to this department and to the nation over the course of his long career,” Panetta said. “I will rely on his experience and expertise during this transition period.”
Lynn previously served as senior national security advisor to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy and as senior advisor to five secretaries of defense.
During his tenure, Lynn helped DOD navigate new strategic and fiscal realities, while supporting efforts in two wars. He helped create a new space policy, the department’s first ever operational-energy strategy, and a landmark cyber strategy to protect the nation in the digital age, including the creation of the U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade, Md. He received widespread praise from America’s men and women in uniform for expanding their use of social media to communicate with their families while deployed.
Lynn also oversaw the department’s budget process, relations with the defense industry, and acquisition process, including the successful bid for a new refueling tanker, according to American Forces Press Service.
Lynn’s impending departure is the latest in a series of changes in Pentagon leadership. Panetta took over from Robert Gates last week. Marine Corps Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright is scheduled to step down as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff next month, and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen will complete his four-year term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the end of September.