WASHINGTON — Robert Daigle, the head of the Pentagon’s powerful Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office, will be stepping down in mid-May.

The news, first reported by Foreign Policy, was confirmed by a Pentagon source who said a formal announcement would be coming later this week.

“He thinks he has accomplished what he set out to accomplish, and he wants to rejoin the private sector,” the source said of Daigle’s decision.

Daigle took over CAPE in August 2017 and has overseen a number of bold, if controversial, moves. His office was central in both the decision to require the Air Force buy the F-15X, as well as the call to decommission the Truman aircraft carrier.

Daigle was also a vocal defender of the Pentagon’s cloud computing JEDI contract at a time when that program came under intense pressure.

Before joining the Pentagon, Daigle worked as a staffer on the House Armed Services Committee and spent three years leading the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.

His departure leaves yet another major hole in the Pentagon’s structure, with a number of top jobs being filled by individuals who are either acting or performing the duties on an ad-hoc basis. That includes the secretary and deputy secretary of defense, as well as the chief management officer — technically the top three jobs in the department — and soon will include the CAPE director and Air Force secretary.

In addition, the office of the undersecretary of personnel and readiness remains without a confirmed leader, as does the chief management officer role, as long as CMO David Norquist is acting as deputy secretary of defense.

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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