Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense Alexis Ross (pictured) has resigned, becoming the latest official to exit the Pentagon this week as part of a growing post-election purge
The Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense has resigned, becoming the latest official to exit the Pentagon this week as part of a growing post-election purge.
A US defense official told CNN Thursday that Alexis Ross has handed in her resignation.
Ross joined the Defense Department under now-fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper in late-2019 after having served as the assistant of the US Army for strategy and acquisition reform.
Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense Jen Stewart had already submitted her resignation Tuesday, one day after Esper was fired by Donald Trump on Twitter.
The shake-up among Esper’s under secretaries at the Defense Department comes as little shock after sources told CNN Tuesday that Trump planned to get rid of the ousted Defense Secretary’s team after firing him.
Concerns are growing among officials about what could happen next as the president’s overhaul of top brass could be setting the nation up for a chaotic transition to the Biden administration.
The upheaval at the Pentagon began when Donald Trump fired Esper in a tweet Monday and replaced him with Christopher Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
‘I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately,’ Trump wrote on Twitter.
‘Chris will do a GREAT job! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service,’ Trump added.
Ross is the latest official to exit the Pentagon this week as part of the post-election purge that began with Trump firing Defense Secretary Mark Esper in a tweet (pictured together in March)
The move sparked a series of changes within the Pentagon, with several senior agency officials being pushed out and replaced by Trump loyalists in the days after the election.
On Tuesday, Stewart, Esper’s Chief of Staff resigned, alongside Acting Undersecretary for Policy James Anderson and Undersecretary for Intelligence Joseph Kernan.
Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Joseph Kernan has also reportedly left his role but it is not clear if he was fired or resigned.
The president appointed Anthony Tata to the undersecretary for policy job and Ezra Cohen-Watnick to the role of acting intelligence undersecretary.
Tata in particular has been touted as a controversial move after he had his nomination for the role of undersecretary of defense for policy withdrawn over the summer following huge opposition.
Trump fired Esper in a tweet Monday and replaced him with Christopher Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center (pictured)
Meanwhile, Kash Patel was appointed to the role of Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense to work under Miller.
Ross’s replacement has not yet been revealed.
Sources told Reuters Trump is now expected to target Department of Homeland Security officials next.
Christopher Krebs, who heads the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), has told associates he expects to be next to be fired by the White House, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
Krebs has reportedly drawn the ire of Trump after CISA set up a website CISA dubbed ‘Rumor Control’ which debunks misinformation about the election.
The site was designed to take on any foreign misinformation after the Mueller report found the Russian government had ‘interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion’.
But the site has ended up contradicting the unsubstantiated claims being put forward by Trump about voter fraud as he continues to fight the election outcome.
Separately, Bryan Ware, assistant director for cybersecurity at CISA, also confirmed to Reuters that he had handed in his resignation on Thursday.
While Assistant Secretary for International Affairs Affairs Valerie Boyd is also leaving her position, CNN reported.
There were rumblings before the election that Trump was gearing up for a wave of post-election firings with Esper and FBI Director Christopher Wray at the top of the list.
Defense official sources told NBC News in the week before the election that Esper had his resignation letter ready in case Trump beat Biden.
But Esper’s firing has sparked fears that Trump could be planning to launch military operations against America’s foreign adversaries, with Iran at the top of the list.
Esper had clashed with Trump over several things – one being Iran and the drone strike that killed top general Quassem Soliemani.
Trump’s spate of firings and hirings comes as he is surrounding himself with officials with ideologies closer to his while he is refusing to concede the presidential election to Joe Biden and continues to make numerous unfounded claims of voter fraud.