Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley, a retired Marine major general and former president of Scholarship America, has submitted his resignation to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta. Stanley, who took office in February 2010, plans to depart the Pentagon within the next two weeks. JoAnn Rooney, currently principal deputy under secretary for personnel and readiness, will serve as acting under secretary until a successor is named.
Tasked by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates to address “the urgent need to find new talent to bring into these important [personnel and readiness] positions to ensure the department can meet the many challenges ahead with innovation, energy and competence,” Dr. Stanley was motivated above all by a sense of commitment to the highest standards of service to the men and women in uniform he served. He felt he had done his utmost to carry out the mandate he was given, and that he had arrived at the point where the next steps could be carried out most effectively by a successor. His decision to resign was his own.
Following is the text of his letter to Panetta:
“It has been my honor to serve as under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. This letter, however, is not about me. It’s about the men and women we serve! I’m not ashamed to say that I love them all. It is with that thought that I am tendering my resignation.
“I believe P&R [Personnel and Readiness] is on the right path. I’ve asked them to ensure that compassion is ever present in their work. I’ve joked about the bureaucracy in the Pentagon, but with the understanding that there is some good in having a bureaucracy that is focused on taking care of our troops, families, retirees and civilian employees.
“The Department of Defense, and our nation, is blessed to have you at the helm. I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to you, former Secretary Gates and to our Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama, for this truly unique opportunity to serve.”
Panetta, who is on travel in Asia, believes that Stanley has been a devoted public servant -- including as a Marine -- for all of his professional career. He has praised Stanley as an advocate for America’s men and women in uniform. The secretary has accepted his resignation, and upon his return will personally convey his appreciation for Stanley’s service as part of the Pentagon’s senior leadership team.