Defense secretary's chief of staff, Eric Chewning, resigns

Chewning's departure comes after a series of senior Pentagon officials have announced their resignations in recent weeks.
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Eric Chewning at a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing in January 2018.Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

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By Courtney Kube and Mosheh Gains

Defense Secretary Mark Esper's chief of staff, Eric Chewning, will leave the Defense Department at the end of the month, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Chewning will be replaced by Jen Stewart, minority staff director for the House Armed Services Committee. Previously, Stewart worked for Marine Gen. Joe Dunford when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The departure of Chewning, who has worked at the Pentagon since October 2017 and has been chief of staff since January 2019, comes as other senior defense officials have resigned in recent weeks, among them Randy Schriver, the assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific affairs; Kari Bingen, the principal deputy undersecretary for intelligence; Jimmy Stewart, the acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness; and Steven Walker, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

A spokesperson for the Pentagon said Chewning's resignation was "a personal decision and is not related to current events," adding, "He's served for 2½ years and is taking time to be with his family and return to the private sector."

Before joining the administration, Chewning was a partner at the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. He is a former Army officer and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"I'm grateful for Eric's professionalism, judgment, and leadership over the last seven months as I moved into the secretary of defense role," Esper said. "In an incredibly demanding job, Eric has been a source of calm and tireless work. He will be missed by all. We wish him all the best upon his return to the private sector."