Hagel snatches new Pentagon chief of staff from U.N.


Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon. (Susan Walsh/AP)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has selected a familiar face from his Senate days to be his new right hand man.

Rexon Ryu, will take over as Hagel’s chief of staff at the Pentagon after Labor Day, an administration official tells the Loop. Ryu was deputy chief of staff and senior foreign policy adviser in Hagel’s U.S. Senate office.

Ryu replaces Mark Lippert, whose suitcase is collecting dust waiting for the Senate to confirm his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to South Korea. President Obama nominated Lippert in May, but the Senate logjam on nominees has stalled his departure.

Hagel’s new guy has been serving as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power’s deputy, running her Washington office.

In a statement, Hagel said “Rexon is someone I’ve been interested in recruiting to the Pentagon …” And Power said that Hagel was “wise to steal him.”

Ryu worked in the State Department during the Bush administration as well. A confidant of Secretary Colin Powell, Ryu got on the bad side of John R. Bolton, then undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, and Bolton allegedly tried to have him fired.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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