Pentagon’s Number 2 Official to Step Down

Jul 7, 2011 4:15pm

ABC News' Luis Martinez (@LMartinezABC) reports:

William Lynn, the Deputy Defense Secretary, has announced his intention to step down from his post for personal reasons. 

The second highest ranking official at the Defense Department communicated his future plans to Leon Panetta last Friday on Panetta’s first day on the job as Defense Secretary.

He’ll remain at his post until Panetta can name a successor sometime this fall. 

Lynn is citing personal reasons for his desire to return to private life.  

In a statement issued by the Pentagon, Lynn said, "It has been a rare privilege to serve in the Department of Defense during such a challenging time. " He added that, “it has been an honor to serve alongside an outstanding group of civilian and military members who every day demonstrate the value to this nation of their unwavering commitment and dedicated service."

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praised Lynn for providing “outstanding advice and counsel to this department and to the nation over the course of his long career.”

Panetta says he will “will rely on his experience and expertise during this transition period.  His service will be greatly missed."

Like his predecessors, Lynn was tasked with managing the Pentagon’s complicated administrative, procurement and budget issues.   During his tenure, Lynn has also overseen the development of a new military cyberstrategy and been praised for improving access to social media so servicemembers can communicate with loved ones while deployed overseas. 

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