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Lloyd Austin’s chief of staff, blamed for Pentagon chief’s hospitalization secrecy, to step down

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s chief of employees – who took the warmth for failing to inform the White House that the intensely personal former Army normal had been hospitalized in January – is stepping down from her place this month, in accordance to the Pentagon.

Kelly Magsamen, Austin’s right-hand lady since he took workplace in 2021, has saved largely quiet all through her tenure, working behind-the-scenes as “the chief architect of every initiative I have launched to defend our nation,” the secretary mentioned in an announcement on Wednesday.

“She proved instrumental in navigating difficult international challenges – from Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine to the devastating Israel-Hamas war after the October 7th Hamas atrocities,” Austin mentioned. “From evacuations of embassies under extraordinary pressure to standing up to bullying and coercion by the People’s Republic of China in the South China Sea.”

Kelly Magsamen
Kelly Magsamen is described as a key interlocutor between the Pentagon and the White House and a trusted adviser to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Chad J. McNeeley/U.S. Department of Defense

Magsamen made information early this yr when the Pentagon blamed her for the White House going 4 days with out understanding that Austin had been hospitalized on New Year’s Day with problems from a latest prostatectomy.

Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 5, Austin was unable to execute his duties, transferring them whereas he was incapacitated to deputy secretary Kathleen Hicks — with out President Biden’s information or, initially, that of Hicks, who was vacationing in Puerto Rico on the time.

After the incident grew to become public and Austin confronted backlash, Defense Department spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder defined that the message was not despatched as a result of the chief of employees – accountable for such communications – was out sick with the flu on the time.

Kelly Magsamen and Lloyd Austin
Some officers say Kelly Magsamen (middle) has been an important asset for Lloyd Austin (proper), and one of just some advisers he trusts fully. Alexander Kubitza/U.S. Department of Defense
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks throughout a press convention on the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on February 1, 2024. AFP by way of Getty Images

Magsamen issued a memorandum shortly thereafter saying that the DoD’s director of administration and administration would “immediately lead a review” of the incident and “evaluate the processes and procedures through which the deputy secretary of defense was notified that she should carry out” Austin’s capabilities.

The Pentagon has denied the snafu is said to her departure.

“From day one of this administration, Kelly’s leadership, counsel, and selfless service made our nation safer, made the lives of our people better and more rewarding and rendered the heavy burden of this office of mine a good bit lighter,” Austin mentioned. “At every stage, she provided a steady hand guiding our staff and the Department. I am – and will remain – in her debt.”

Kelly Magsamen
Kelly Magsamen speaks at on the U.S. Capitol on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC when she labored as vice chairman for International Policy and Security on the Center for American Progress. Getty Images for MoveOn.org

Magsamen beforehand served as principal deputy assistant secretary of protection for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs beneath the Obama administration, in accordance to her biography.

She later labored as vice chairman for nationwide safety and worldwide coverage on the Center for American Progress, a DC-based left-wing suppose tank.

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