The PJ Tatler

Defense Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness Hands in Resignation

The Defense Department is losing its undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness not six months after she was confirmed by the Senate.

Jessica Wright, who retired as a major general in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, had done the duties of her job as acting undersecretary since Jan. 1, 2013, and was confirmed June 25, 2014. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was nominated on Jan. 7, 2013, and his pending resignation was announced Nov. 24.

The Pentagon said this evening that Wright submitted her letter of resignation to President Obama and Hagel.

“She has decided to step down from her position effective March 31, 2015, in order to spend time with her family and enjoy her retirement,” the statement said.

“I want to thank our Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness, Jes Wright,” Hagel said in a statement. “Thank you Jes for your service to this country, and the many, many long and distinguished years that you have given to our nation.”

Hagel’s clashes with Obama that led to his involuntary resignation included ISIS strategy and concerns that the administration’s defense cuts were hurting readiness.

In March, Wright told a House Armed Services subcommittee that “we believe that the quality of life of our military personnel is — is — is good.”

“At this point in time quality of life is good but quality of service, we believe, for our military member is lower. And so we would like to balance that for our service member,” she said.

That balance, she said, was figuring out how to pull enough from compensation to pay for needed training.

As an example, Wright noted the fighter squadrons grounded in 2013 for budget reasons.

“To bring that training up to a level where their readiness is sufficient takes a very long time. If we don’t use the money that we can get from that balanced approach then we will never get those fighter pilots to the proficiency that we need to get them to perform the mission that we’re asking them to perform,” she testified.

Wright was the first female aviator in the Army National Guard and the first female maneuver brigade commander in the Army.