WASHINGTON ― Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Thursday that Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, a veteran spokesman at the Pentagon, will be the department’s next press secretary.

Ryder, the Air Force public affairs director, replaces John Kirby, who left the Pentagon in May to became a White House spokesman on national security matters.

Then-Rear Adm. Kirby was the last uniformed officer to hold the job, under then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter replaced Kirby with Peter Cook, a former journalist, in 2015.

Ryder served as spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2017 to 2019. He worked for Austin from 2013 to 2016 as his top spokesman at U.S. Central Command when Austin was the commander.

In a statement, Austin said Ryder would lead the Pentagon’s “efforts to provide timely, accurate information to the media, and through the media to the American people.” Austin praised Ryder’s “wealth of experience, including joint and deployed assignments that will serve him well as he informs the media of our activities around the world.”

Joe Gould was the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He had previously served as Congress reporter.

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