Military Times

Pentagon personnel chief steps down

The Defense Department's personnel chief bid a formal farewell to her colleagues Friday and it remains unclear who will take her place.

Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright attended a retirement ceremony Friday at the Pentagon, though she will technically remain in her position until the end of the month, said Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman.

The White House has not nominated a replacement for Wright, who announced in December that she would leave to spend more time with her family.

For now, Laura Junor will remain the principal deputy undersecretary for the office, Christensen said.

Wright's departure comes at a time of renewed debate about the future of military compensation.

In January, a blue-ribbon panel recommended far-reaching structural changes to troops' pay and benefits, including shrinking the traditional retirement benefit by about 20 percent and eliminating the Tricare health system in its current form and instead offering military families health coverage similar to government civilian benefits.

The Pentagon is finalizing a formal response to those proposals, one that likely will influence Congress as it considers whether to enact the proposals into law.

Wright, a retired major general and former commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard, took the Pentagon personnel job in January 2013.

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