WASHINGTON – Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work will be staying on through the start of the Trump administration, he confirmed Friday.

Rumors had swirled for weeks that Work, who has served as deputy since April 2014, would be asked to stay in some temporary fashion. Then on Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that retired Gen. Jim Mattis, the Trump pick for Secretary of Defense, had asked Work to stick around for several months to help keep things on track during the transition.

In what was originally billed as a farewell address and later changed into a "recognition and award" ceremony, Work acknowledged the rumors, saying, "I'll be staying just a little bit longer to help with the transition," at least until his successor is appointed.

Work, a retired Marine, also joked during his speech that there was a long-running secret conspiracy to have a secretary, deputy and chairman of the Joint Chiefs who are all Marines – something now likely to happen, with Congress set to confirm Mattis as secretary and Gen. Joe Dunford already in place as chairman.

Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.

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