Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has appointed a United States Air Force Brigadier General as the new Pentagon Press Secretary.
“Today, I have appointed Brigadier General Patrick S. Ryder as the next Pentagon Press Secretary. people," Austin said in a statement Thursday.
Ryder currently serves as Chief Public Affairs Officer for the Air Force and Space Force. Prior to that, he was the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and was the spokesman for Austin from 2013 until 2016, when he was the secretary of the U.S. Central Command.
Ryder will be the first Pentagon. Rear Admiral John Kirby served under Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Ash Carter from 2013 until 2015. He was the spokesperson and soon replaced Kirby with the new Pentagon press secretary. Kirby, who retired from the military in 2015, has since served as spokesman for the State Department, press secretary for the Pentagon, and coordinator of strategic communications for the White House's National Security Council under the Obama administration.
The military is a non-political organization and can pose potential problems if riders are asked to expand their political standing. and a rule has been established by Congress to ensure that the secretary of defense has not worn a military uniform for at least seven years before taking office.
However, exceptions have been made with congressional approval, and lawmakers recently waived that requirement against former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and current Secretary of Defense Austin.
CNN first reported the decision to appoint Ryder on Wednesday.