Panetta taps two spokesmen for Pentagon

July 18, 2011

Buzz at the Pentagon is that new Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is going to name two veteran communications folks to be spokesmen for the department. Both will serve in the office of public affairs, which is headed by assistant secretary for public affairs Douglas Wilson.

The two new spokesmen are Navy Capt. John F. Kirby, currently the top communications aide to Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, and George Little, who has most recently been the CIA’s director of public affairs during Panetta’s tenure. Kirby is expected to be deputy assistant secretary of defense/spokesman and director of media operations. Little would be deputy assistant secretary of defense/press secretary.

This would be a different set-up from that used by former defense secretary Bob Gates, in that there will be both a senior military and a senior civilian spokesman to cover the full range of military and national security issues.

The daily briefings are expected to rotate between Wilson, Kirby and Little.

Geoff Morrell, Gates's spokesman for the last four years, left last week to take some well-deserved time off and consider some opportunities.

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Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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