Owen West resigns as assistant defense secretary for special operations

news
Moulton At The House Armed Services Committee Hearing On Counterterrorism

Owen West is stepping down as assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict as of June 22, a defense official told Task and Purpose on Wednesday.

West decided to resign in order to spend more time with his family, said Pentagon spokeswoman Navy Cmdr. Candice Tresch.


When he leaves his post later this month, West will have served just over one year and six months in the role. He'll be replaced by Mark E. Mitchell, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations/low-intensity conflict.

No further information was immediately available about why West decided to leave. West could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

West's departure has nothing to do with the recent conclusion of the review into the Oct. 4, 2017 Niger ambush that was ordered by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Tresch said.

"The department is absolutely confident after two investigations and three reviews that accountability has been rendered in this case," West told reporters on June 5.

In February, West broke with President Donald Trump's administration when Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) asked about former Defense Secretary James Mattis' opposition with Trump's plan to pull all U.S. troops from Syria.

"Do you think [Mattis] was wrong?" Moulton asked during a Feb. 6 House Armed Services Committee hearing.

"No sir," West replied.

The day before, he said at a The National Defense Industrial Association event that he did not think the relentless operations tempo and continuous deployments over the two decades were the reasons for several criminal investigations into special operators.

"If we knew exactly, we would put an end to it," he said at the 30th Annual SO/LIC Symposium & Exhibition. "So, at some level, human failure is going to be a part of any organization, but on another level we have to make sure that we send a message – and I mean a regular message and drumbeat – about how important ethics are as a regular course of business and not be reactive."

SEE ALSO: Marine Raider gets 4 years for Green Beret's hazing death in Mali

WATCH NEXT: The Pentagon's Niger Ambush Recreation Video

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Thursday of possible Israeli involvement in attacks against Iranian-linked targets in Iraq.

A series of blasts in the past few weeks have hit weapon depots and bases belonging to paramilitary groups in Iraq, many of them backed by Israel's regional foe Iran. The groups blamed the United States and Israel for the blasts on Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
White House/Shealah Craighead

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will make it easier for permanently disabled veterans to have their student loan debt forgiven.

Read More Show Less
Capt. Tranay Lashawn Tanner. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Physical fitness tests were briefly suspended earlier this week and outdoor cardio testing will be curtailed for the remainder of the summer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, after an airman died Saturday. She had completed her PT test on Friday.

Read More Show Less
(DoD photo)

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer has expanded a review of the Judge Advocate General Corps to include the Marine Corps, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.

"There is value in applying this review and its subsequent recommendations across the Department of the Navy," Cmdr. Jereal Dorsey told Task & Purpose. "The review's purpose is to confirm the uniformed legal community is structurally and organizationally sound and best supporting the good order and discipline our integrated naval force."

Read More Show Less

Marine veteran, professional mumbler, temper-tantrum prone Sith Lord, and A-list actor, Adam Driver, is taking on the CIA in a new teaser trailer for the feature-length political thriller The Report.

Read More Show Less