Top Pentagon Official Announces Resignation

The Biden administration will be losing another top official as a top Pentagon employee announced her resignation this week.

After serving only nine months as the acting under secretary of defense, Sasha Baker announced she’ll be resigning at the end of next month. The position is the top policymaker for the Department of Defense.

The undersecretary of defense is considered the No. 3 leadership position among the civilian sector at the Pentagon. It’s a crucial role that will now need to be filled as the United States is backing both Israel and Ukraine in their foreign wars.

With Baker leaving, it marks the second time in less than a year that an official has resigned from the post.

Colin Kahl previously stepped down from the position in July of 2023 to take a job in the private sector. He preceded Baker in the role.

In a statement, Lloyd Austin, the defense secretary, said he was “deeply grateful” for Baker’s “outstanding contributions to the department and to U.S. national security.”

He added:

“Baker was asked to step into a difficult and critical position, and she has been a pillar of strength and wisdom. Under her leadership, our policy team has helped the department navigate a range of complex global challenges, including major crises in Ukraine and the Middle East.

“Her strategic acumen and steadfast commitment to our national security have helped her play a pivotal role in shaping our defense policies, tackling emerging threats and strengthening interagency relationships and international alliances.”

With the position now open, the Senate will be considering the nomination of Derek Chollet to serve as under secretary of defense. In the meantime, Amanda Dory will serve as the acting undersecretary.

She’s the director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, which is funded by the Pentagon.

Chollet is likely to face a lot of resistance from Republicans in the Senate during his confirmation hearing, just as Kahl did.

When Kahl’s confirmation hearing was held back in 2021, Republicans questioned him about his support for a new nuclear deal with Iran.

Chollet has already struggled to handle questions from Republicans during a September hearing about the role he played in the chaotic military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August of 2021.

Despite that botched hearing, President Joe Biden has remained firm in his support of the latest nominee for the important civilian position.

The Biden administration has dealt with an extremely high rate of turnover, some from key positions in multiple departments. High-ranking officials have seemingly departed from the administration every month.

Vice President Kamala Harris’ team has been particularly hard hit by turnover. In just the first two years of the Biden administration, multiple leading officials in Harris’ office left, for a variety of reasons.

It’s not really a surprise, as there have been many media reports about tensions and overall chaos that has occurred in both Harris’ office and in the Biden administration as a whole.