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William Lynn Stepping Down as Deputy Defense Secretary

July 8, 2011
Lynn was 'instrumental' in process that led to Air Force choosing Boeing for tanker contract.

Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn will leave his post to return to private life, Pentagon officials said yesterday.

Lynn, the second-highest-ranking civilian at the Pentagon, will remain in office until a successor takes his place, which is expected to happen by this fall.

"Bill Lynn has provided outstanding advice and counsel to this department and to the nation over the course of his long career," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a news release. "I will rely on his experience and expertise during this transition period. His service will be greatly missed."

The Armed Forces Press Service called Lynn "the face of the Pentagon's cyber defense policy."

Safeguarding data was a high priority for Lynn, according to the Armed Forces Press Service. "He has worked within the department to strengthen DOD's defense posture and put in place policies, procedures and techniques to safeguard data on the information superhighway," Jim Garamone of the press service reported. "He worked closely with military officials to establish the U.S. Cyber Command -- a four-star headquarters based at Fort Meade, Md."

Lynn encouraged NATO to take cybersecurity seriously, prompting the alliance to adopt measures "to protect vital secrets during its summit last year," Garamone reported.

Lynn also was "instrumental" in the selection process that led to the award of the Air Force's aerial-refueling-tanker contract to Boeing earlier this year, according to the press service.

Period of Transition for the Pentagon

Lynn's impending departure is the latest in a series of changes in Pentagon leadership.

Panetta took over from retired Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week.

Marine Corps Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright is scheduled to step down as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff next month, and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen will complete his four-year term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the end of September, the press service reported.

President Obama must nominate Lynn's successor. The Senate Armed Services Committee would hold a confirmation hearing, and the full Senate would vote on confirmation.

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