Top Pentagon official leaving Trump administration: report

Source: The Hill | February 19, 2020 | Justin Wise

A top Defense Department official is expected to leave the Trump administration after losing support from other national security leaders, CNN reported Wednesday, citing two unidentified sources.

John Rood, undersecretary of Defense for policy at the Pentagon, is set to exit his post following a request for his resignation, a source told the news network.

Rood, who assumed his position in 2018, serves as a principal adviser to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and coordinates national security policy within the Pentagon as part of his role. He also oversees areas that deal with the country’s partnership with foreign allies.

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Rood played a role in initially certifying to Congress that Ukraine had taken actions to make institutional reforms within its government in order to receive $250 million in security assistance from the U.S.

“The United States remains committed to assisting with the implementation of these reforms to bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend its territorial integrity in support of a secure and democratic Ukraine,” Rood wrote, according to a letter previously obtained by The Hill.

The letter undermined the justification that some Trump administration members gave for withholding military assistance. Some officials had said that the block in funding was a product of a push for corruption reform.

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Rood asserted that “placing a hold on security assistance at this time would jeopardize this unique window of opportunity and undermine our defense priorities with a key partner in the strategic competition with Russia.”

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Rood had reportedly become a source of frustration among Defense officials, who alleged in a Foreign Policy article in December that he was responsible for a toxic work environment.

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