Feb 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood.
John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post on Feb. 28, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

  • He certified to Congress last year that corruption reforms in Ukraine allowed the delivery of $250 million of security assistance that ultimately formed the basis of Trump's impeachment.
  • Rood emailed Defense Secretary Mark Esper in the hours after Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to state 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," reports CNN.

What they're saying: "I would like to thank John Rood for his service to our Country, and wish him well in his future endeavors!" President Trump tweeted Wednesday.

  • "John has played a critical role on a wide range of DoD issues including modernizing our nuclear deterrence capability, efforts to increase burden sharing by our NATO allies, our Missile Defense Review and implementing the National Defense Strategy. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors," Esper said in a statement.
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