WASHINGTON — The flood of departing defense officials continues as the U.S. Navy’s chief learning officer — a newly created position championed by former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly — announced he is leaving his post this summer to take positions at a think tank and a venture capital firm.
John Kroger took to LinkedIn this week to announce his departure, eight months after taking the job in September.
“I will be leaving the Department of the Navy and my civil service position as the Chief Learning Officer later this summer,” Kroger wrote. “It has been a great honor to serve as the first joint Navy-Marine Corps CLO and wish all of my colleagues the very best.”
A Navy statement provided to Defense News said the service planned to replace the CLO.
“The Department will make an announcement about the appointment of a new CLO in the near future,” the statement read. “Educating the force remains a Department priority, and we will continue to look at innovative ways to provide Sailors and Marines a career roadmap filled with world-class training and education.”
What remains unclear is what the change will mean for reforms the service put in place in its 2018 Education for Seapower initiative, which sought to align several educational institutions around developing more strategic-minded sailors and Marines. Included in the initiative were the United States Naval Academy, Naval Postgraduate School, the Naval War College and Marine Corps University.
Kroger is still in the CLO position and it’s unclear when he’ll be leaving, a Navy spokesman said.
Kroger’s departure is one of several recent exits by senior civilians at the Pentagon. However, this trend is often seen near the end of a president’s term — even if the president is up for reelection.
The Pentagon’s top two technology experts, Mike Griffin and Lisa Porter, resigned. They plan to leave their jobs July 10.
On June 16, Elaine McCusker, the Defense Department’s acting comptroller, submitted her resignation, followed two days later by Kathryn Wheelbarger, the acting assistant defense secretary for international security affairs.
It’s also the latest in a string of leadership shakeups in the Navy that has seen both the secretary of the Navy, the acting secretary of the Navy, a confirmed chief of naval operations and now Kroger all leaving their positions.
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.