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Kelly Magsamen, the chief of staff for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, will step down at the end of June.

In a statement, Austin praised Magsamen for her “tremendous service over three and a half pivotal years” but did not provide specific reasons for her departure. He added, “Kelly has been at my side since the start of my tenure as Secretary of Defense. She has been the chief architect of every initiative I have launched to defend our nation, take care of our people, and succeed through teamwork. 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. At every stage, she provided a steady hand guiding our staff and the Department. I am – and will remain – in her debt.”


Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh added, “Kelly Magsamen has been in this position since day one of this administration. After three and a half years, she’s taking time off before she pursues other opportunities.”

Magsamen was a pivotal figure in the controversy surrounding Austin’s January hospitalization. During this incident, Austin and his team delayed informing President Biden and White House staff for three days, a decision that drew significant scrutiny. According to the Pentagon, Magsamen was absent due to illness at the time of Austin’s hospitalization, which, combined with sparse staffing, delayed the notification to the White House. An internal review concluded there was no ill intent, and the delay was partly due to medical privacy laws.

The incident led to a public apology from Austin and a congressional hearing, with a bipartisan group of lawmakers calling the notification delay “inexcusable.”


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