Hagel taps Rear Adm. Kirby as his new spokesman

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced Friday that he has picked Rear Adm. John Kirby as his new top spokesman amid a shakeup of senior Pentagon officials.

In a press release, Hagel said Kirby will serve as Pentagon press secretary and his principal spokesman.

The post has been vacant since the departure of George Little in mid-November.

Kirby is known for his extensive experience in military public affairs.

Currently working as the Navy's chief of information, Kirby has provided strategic communications counsel to the secretary of the Navy and the chief of naval operations.

Hagel said Kirby has long been a "trusted voice for the Department of Defense and is one of its leading public affairs officers."

Hagel, about ten months after taking office, is also in the search for replacements for several high-ranking Pentagon officials, including former Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter and Under Secretary for Policy James Miller, who is resigning in January.

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