WASHINGTON — Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary since December 2013, has been asked to step down from his role as the public face of the Pentagon by new Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Carter plans to bring in his own civilian spokesman, as he prefers having a civilian rather than a uniformed member of the military promoting policy decisions from the podium at the Pentagon.

Speaking at an afternoon press briefing on Wednesday, Kirby said Carter "hasn't made a decision about who will be the next press secretary," but that he has known for some time that "he comes to the job wanting to revisit the role of the spokesperson here."

Kirby added that he has agreed to "stay on for a couple of weeks" to assist the new spokesperson with the transition.

Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel tapped Kirby to be his press secretary in December 2013 to replace George Little, who had held the position since 2011 under then-Secretary Leon Panetta.

Defending civilian policy decisions to the press "hasn't been a big issue for me," Kirby said on Wednesday, adding that any situations where this has caused him discomfort "have been few and very, very far in between" during his tenure.

"We all serve at the pleasure of the secretary and I've been honored to have had the privilege" to hold the position, Kirby said.

Email: pmcleary@defensenews.com

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