The Pentagon's chief of family and morale, welfare and recreation programs has resigned to take a job with the Department of Veterans Affairs, effective at the beginning of April, sources said.

Rosemary Freitas Williams has been asked to go to the VA to serve as assistant secretary for public affairs, according to an unofficial monthly email newsletter to military families she distributed Wednesday, a copy of which was obtained by Military Times.

Williams has served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy since July 2013. She has been responsible for policy, advocacy and oversight of all community support to service members and their families, quality-of-life issues, child care and youth programs, family violence prevention and intervention, casualty and mortuary affairs, MWR programs, commissaries and exchanges, military spouse career advancement, and voluntary education programs for service members.

Information was not immediately available about a replacement.

Before her appointment to the Defense Department position, Williams served as vice president of a social marketing and strategic communications firm. She previously worked in government as director for communications and public liaison at the Office of Personnel Management, and as the senior adviser for strategic communications to the VA secretary. Following a broadcast journalism career that spanned 25 years, Williams worked in the nonprofit sector as communications director for Blue Star Families.

"You have heard me say countless times how important it is to close the gap between DoD and VA, now more than ever," Williams said in the email. "That does not make me a genius. DoD is leaning forward with new ideas like access to Military OneSource for 365 days after transition. Meanwhile, VA is going through a remarkable transformation. But no matter how forward the two agencies reach towards each other, there will always be a gap. And that is where the community-based providers, state programs, non-profits — large and small, schools, churches, synagogues, and mosques come in.

"I intend to join VA's mission of transformation and to help where I can to help weave that net of community-based support in concert with VA," Williams said.

Thus, the career move is a logical progression for her, she stated.

"If you are a MilFam you will be a veteran family. It's just a matter of time.

"I love this job, but I love the military community more than my own comfort."

Karen Jowers covers military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times. She can be reached at

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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