The PJ Tatler

Hagel Loses His Press Secretary a Week After His No. 2 Resigns

Eight days ago, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel lost his No. 2 as Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter handed in his resignation.

Now, the Pentagon’s press secretary is headed for the exits.

George Little’s last day will be Nov. 15. “One of my immediate goals is to have a Blackberry-free Thanksgiving dinner for the first time in several years,” he said in a statement released Friday. “I will leave having done my best to serve two indispensable national security organizations led by three outstanding public servants:  Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary Leon Panetta, and CIA Director Mike Hayden.”

Little has previous private sector experience with Booz Allen Hamilton and IBM. He became chief of media relations at the CIA in April 2007 and worked his way up to director of public relations before heading over to the Pentagon in July 2011 as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.

That was when Panetta shifted from the CIA over to his job as Defense secretary.

Carter had been among the top picks to replace former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta upon his retirement. After President Obama opted for Hagel instead, Obama personally asked Carter to stay on as Hagel’s No. 2.

Carter’s announcement comes just over a week into the government shutdown and directly after the fiasco in which the Pentagon denied death gratuities to the survivors of fallen soldiers, something Hagel and his staff deemed unavoidable because lawyers had interpreted the broad Pay Our Military Act to not include the benefits.