WASHINGTON, July 7, 2011 — Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III will step down later this year to return to private life, Pentagon officials announced today.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta asked Lynn to remain in office until a successor is nominated and confirmed, officials said, and that’s expected to happen by autumn.
“Bill Lynn has provided outstanding advice and counsel to this department and to the nation over the course of his long career,” Panetta said in a Pentagon news release. “I will rely on his experience and expertise during this transition period. His service will be greatly missed.”
Lynn has been the face of the Pentagon’s cyber defense policy. He has worked within the department to strengthen DOD’s defense posture and put in place policies, procedures and techniques to safeguard data on the information superhighway. He worked closely with military officials to establish the U.S. Cyber Command – a four-star headquarters based at Fort Meade, Md.
Lynn also has worked with close allies such as Britain, Australia and Canada to ensure all nations work together to protect military information. He stressed the importance of cybersecurity to NATO, and the alliance adapted a roadmap to protect vital secrets during its summit last year.
Lynn also concentrated on DOD’s space and operational energy policies and the department’s Quadrennial Defense Review. In addition, he was instrumental in the process that led to award of the Air Force aerial tanker contract.
“It has been a rare privilege to serve in the Department of Defense during such a challenging time,” the deputy secretary said. “And it has been an honor to serve alongside an outstanding group of civilian and military members who every day demonstrate the value to this nation of their unwavering commitment and dedicated service.”
Lynn’s impending departure is the latest in a series of changes in Pentagon leadership. Panetta took over from retired Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates last week. Marine Corps Gen. James E. “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.
President Barack Obama must nominate Lynn’s successor. The Senate Armed Services Committee would hold a confirmation hearing, and the full Senate would vote on confirmation.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)