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Deputy chief of staff to the secretary of defense has resigned amid Pentagon purge

The Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense has resigned, becoming the latest official to exit the Pentagon this week as part of a growing post-election purge.

A US defense official told CNN Thursday that Alexis Ross has handed in her resignation.

Ross joined the Defense Department under now-fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper in late-2019 after having served as the assistant of the US Army for strategy and acquisition reform. 

Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense Jen Stewart had already submitted her resignation Tuesday, one day after Esper was fired by Donald Trump on Twitter. 

The shake-up among Esper’s under secretaries at the Defense Department comes as little shock after sources told CNN Tuesday that Trump planned to get rid of the ousted Defense Secretary’s team after firing him. 

Concerns are growing among officials about what could happen next as the president’s overhaul of top brass could be setting the nation up for a chaotic transition to the Biden administration. 

Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense Alexis Ross has resigned, becoming the latest official to exit the Pentagon this week as part of the post-election purge that began with Trump firing Defense Secretary Mark Esper in a tweet (pictured together in March)

Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense Alexis Ross has resigned, becoming the latest official to exit the Pentagon this week as part of the post-election purge that began with Trump firing Defense Secretary Mark Esper in a tweet (pictured together in March)

The upheaval at the Pentagon began when Donald Trump fired Esper in a tweet Monday and replaced him with Christopher Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.  

‘I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately,’ Trump wrote on Twitter.

‘Chris will do a GREAT job! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service,’ Trump added. 

The move sparked a series of changes within the Pentagon, with several senior agency officials being pushed out and replaced by Trump loyalists in the days after the election. 

On Tuesday, Stewart, Esper’s Chief of Staff resigned, alongside Acting Undersecretary for Policy James Anderson and Undersecretary for Intelligence Joseph Kernan.  

The president appointed Anthony Tata to the undersecretary for policy job and Ezra Cohen-Watnick to the role of acting intelligence undersecretary. 

Meanwhile, Kash Patel was appointed to the role of Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense to work under Miller.   

Ross’s replacement has not yet been revealed.  

There were rumblings before the election that Trump was gearing up for a wave of post-election firings with Esper and FBI Director Christopher Wray at the top of the list. 

But Esper’s firing has sparked fears that Trump could be planning to launch military operations against America’s foreign adversaries, with Iran at the top of the list.

Esper had clashed with Trump over several things including Iran and the drone strike that killed top general Quassem Soliemani.   

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